COLUMBUS — Three Republican lawmakers have drafted legislation that would centralize authority over opioid lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies in the hands of the Ohio attorney general’s office. This could cause settlement money to be diverted away from local municipalities and prosecutors and into the hands of the state.
Currently, there are more than 100 lawsuits in place in Ohio related to the opioid crisis. The legislation would allow the attorney general to have the individual cases dismissed and then consolidate those lawsuits under the state. Although the opioid lawsuits are the main focus on the legislation, it would affect any local lawsuits that are a matter of statewide concern.
The legislation has support from Attorney General Dave Yost, but Gov. Mike DeWine indicated last week that he would veto the legislation if it passes. The bill also has received push-back from some local municipalities and prosecutors, mostly because of how the settlement funds would be diverted.