Drug companies reach last-minute opioid settlement

The country's three largest drug distributors and one manufacturer reached a settlement to avoid the bellwether federal opioid trial set to begin in Cleveland Oct. 21, according to The New York Times.

The settlement, worth around $260 million, involves McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and Teva. McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen will pay $215 million to the two Ohio counties that filed suit. Teva will pay at least $20 million in cash and donate $25 million worth of addiction treatment drugs. However, the details of the settlement have yet to be released.

The lawsuits filed by Ohio's Cuyahoga and Summit counties were first to go to trial out of more than 2,300 opioid lawsuits brought in federal court and consolidated before U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The lawsuits claim pharmaceutical companies pushed opioid pain medications for widespread use without adequately warning of the risks of addiction, and distributors enabled the shipping of high volumes of pills into communities.

A broader settlement to resolve the thousands of other cases against the companies may be announced later in the day by state attorneys general, people familiar with the discussions told The New York Times.

A smaller distributor, Henry Schein Medical, also reached a settlement, agreeing to pay $1 million to a grant-making foundation that focuses on alternative pain treatments and $250,000 for the plaintiffs' legal fees.

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