Drugmakers, distributors nearing $50B opioid settlement

The country's three largest drug distributors and two manufacturers have agreed with several states on the framework of a $50 billion settlement to resolve thousands of opioid-related lawsuits, according to The New York Times.

The deal would release distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — which distribute about 90 percent of the country's drugs — and drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Teva from the more than 2,300 lawsuits they face in federal and state courts.

The companies, all accused of fueling the opioid crisis, are under pressure to reach a deal by Oct. 21, when the federal opioid trial is set to begin in Cleveland.

Though some states have agreed in principle to the framework, cities and counties across the country want more information about how and when the $50 billion would be distributed.

Though many of the details are still being debated, the current framework has $20 billion to $25 billion to be divided among states and localities to pay for healthcare, law enforcement and other costs related to the epidemic, and another $25 billion to $30 billion going toward addiction treatments, supplies and delivery services, according to The New York Times.

A timeline of when the money would be distributed and how much money will go toward attorney fees have not yet been determined. It is also unclear how much money each company will contribute toward the settlement, although previous reports suggested the three distributors would pay $18 billion.

As settlement negotiations were being discussed, jury selection began Oct. 16 in Cleveland.

"Jury selection is underway for the trial beginning on Oct. 21 and we will continue to pursue all avenues — both in court and at the negotiation table — to secure funds that will aid law enforcement officers, medical professionals, and treatment facility staff around the country for the decades-long recovery process ahead," the lead plaintiff lawyers said in an Oct. 16 statement.

Read the full article here.

More articles on opioids:
Judge backs Philadelphia's supervised injection site
UPMC Chautauqua's attempt to open methadone clinic scuttled
Purdue Pharma's owners made larger profit than previously thought, court filing shows

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