Pharma companies offer $26B to resolve opioid litigation

Mckesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and Johnson & Johnson have offered a $26 billion deal with states and local governments to end the thousands of lawsuits against the pharma companies for their roles in the opioid crisis, The New York Times reported.

The deal is $4 billion more than an offer made last year that was rejected by many states and municipalities. The updated deal includes $2 billion for private lawyers representing cities, counties and some of the states.  

If the offer is accepted, the four companies would no longer be at risk of future opioid lawsuits from the defendants, the Times reported. Other pharmaceutical companies are still facing thousands of opioid-related lawsuits. 

Most of the $26 billion is intended to pay for addiction treatment and prevention programs. Each state would determine how it would distribute the money. 

"The deal gets money to all of the communities in the United States that are suffering from insult upon injury, first from the opioid epidemic and now with COVID as well," said Paul Hanly Jr., a lawyer who represents several small governments, according to the Times

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