Justice Dept. Backs High-Stakes Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers

Justice Dept. Backs High-Stakes Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is throwing its weight behind plaintiffs in a sprawling, high-stakes prescription opioids lawsuit in Ohio, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Tuesday.

Mr. Sessions said that the Justice Department plans to file a so-called statement of interest in the lawsuit, a technique that past administrations have typically reserved for cases that directly affect the federal government’s interests, like diplomacy and national security.

The Obama administration had used statements of interest to expand the boundaries of civil rights laws.

At a news conference, Mr. Sessions said the lawsuit targeted “opioid manufacturers and distributors for allegedly using false, deceptive and unfair marketing of opioid drugs.”

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