Opioids advocate now working with plaintiffs in lawsuits

A doctor who spent decades advocating for broader use of powerful prescription painkillers is now working with the state and local governments that are suing drug companies over the opioid crisis.

Dr. Russell Portenoy, a professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is helping the plaintiffs in exchange for having claims against him dropped.

His cooperation was made public late last week in a filing from a special federal court master. The special master, David Cohen, said the government plaintiffs portrayed Portenoy “as a paid shill” for the drugmakers.

Cohen also found that Portenoy failed to disclose that he was cooperating with the government plaintiffs. As a result, they will not be able to use his testimony in two cases scheduled to go to trial this fall.

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