He Made Big Tobacco Cave. Now's He's Got a New Target

Attorney Mike Moore is going after companies that make and sell opioids
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2017 8:53 AM CDT
He Made Big Tobacco Cave. Now's He's Got a New Target
A file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Mike Moore is renowned in legal circles as the attorney who brought Big Tobacco to its knees by orchestrating a 50-state, $246 billion settlement back in the 1990s. Now, the 65-year-old Moore has a new but similarly giant target: companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell opioids, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Its lengthy profile explains how Moore is crisscrossing the country, coordinating with state attorneys general, private attorneys, and professionals in law enforcement and public health. A big component of the strategy is to go after opioid makers on accusations that they deliberately downplayed the risks of addiction, similar to the charges Moore's team made against tobacco companies 20 years ago.

The idea is to bombard the companies with so many lawsuits that it becomes financially impossible to fight them off one by one—thus raising pressure to reach a settlement whose money can be used to help addicts kick the habit. “The vilification of this industry has not even begun yet,” says Moore. The litigation will show that the companies "took advantage and made billions of dollars on lots of people who died from their products," he adds. "And they can claim misuse and abuse all they want to—it’s too many." Click for the full story, which explains that the fight is a personal one for Moore: The piece begins with an anecdote about Moore rushing his nephew to the hospital after an opioid overdose. (More Longform stories.)

Stories to sink your teeth into.
Get our roundup of longform stories every Saturday.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.