Two Ohio counties and four drug companies agreed to a $260 million settlement, averting the first federal opioid trial an hour before opening arguments were scheduled to begin Monday.
- The deal is between distributors McKesson, AmeriSourceBergen and Cardinal Health, along with Teva Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli manufacturer, and Ohio’s Summit and Cuyahoga counties.
- The Washington Post reported that the counties will receive $235 million in cash from the four companies and $25 million in anti-addiction medication from Teva.
- Walgreens was not included, and the New York Times reported it will be going forward with its case.
- The deal comes as talks for a $50 billion settlement collapsed over the weekend.
- The drug companies are still contending with over 2,400 claims from across the country, which they hope to end with a wide-ranging settlement.
Key background: Almost 400,000 Americans have died in the opioid epidemic over the past two decades. Millions remain addicted, costing local governments millions of dollars and creating enormous strains on law enforcement, health providers and social services. Cities began filing lawsuits against the drug companies in 2014. By 2019, the number of opioid lawsuits ballooned to more than 2,500, with nearly every U.S. state filing separate litigation as well. The total economic toll of the crisis could range from $50 billion to over $1 trillion, according to estimates.
Tangent: Purdue Pharma (which manufactured OxyContin) and its owners, the Sackler family, were part of the case until the company offered a separate settlement of up to $12 billion and filed for bankruptcy in September. If the settlement is accepted, the Sacklers will relinquish control of Purdue.
Courtesy of https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2019/10/21/260-million-settlement-averts-first-federal-opioid-trial/#6e19c08770f2