The Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit have struck a $260 million deal with some of the country’s largest drug companies, avoiding a landmark first federal trial holding accountable opioid manufacturers and distributors for creating and fueling a national opioid epidemic. The highly anticipated trial in Cleveland federal court was to begin Monday.
According to the terms of the settlement, Amerisource Bergen Drug Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp., will pay a total of $215 million. The companies will work together to determine what percentage of that total each will pay. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., will pay $20 million in cash and $25 million in donated addiction-treatment drugs. Walgreen Co., was dropped from the trial, and is not part of the settlement.
The 11th-hour deal was announced around 1 a.m. Monday by Judge Dan A. Polster of the Northern District of Ohio.
Over the weekend, Henry Schein Medical, a smaller distributor, agreed to contribute $1 million to a foundation focused on identifying safer alternatives to pain treatment, and pay $250,000 to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees, to settle claims brought by Summit County. Cuyahoga did not sue that distributor.
Several drug companies have entered settlement agreements to avoid the first two bellwether cases in the opioid litigation. The latest agreement brings the Ohio counties’ total to about $325 million.
Judge Polster has urged the drug manufacturers and distributors named in the opioid litigation to work out settlement agreements with the local governments, states and tribes that have filed lawsuits against them seeking compensation for the loss of lives from opioid overdoses and economic damages.
Beasley Allen has an Opioid Litigation Team that includes these lawyers: Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, Roger Smith and Jeff Price. This team represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities in multidistrict litigation.