More than 20 states have quashed an $18 billion settlement deal with three major distributors of opioids, the latest setback in the massive opioid litigation consolidated in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper reviewed a letter sent to attorneys for the drug companies and signed by the attorneys general of 21 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The states want the wholesalers to pay far more – between $22 billion and $32 billion.
The Wall Street Journal in October reported that the wholesalers – AmerisourceBergen Corp, McKesson Corp., and Cardinal Health Inc., — had begun settlement talks, ultimately offering to pay $18 billion over 18 years. Johnson & Johnson was also considering contributing additional money as well. But the deal has reportedly fallen flat with the states – many of which are among the hardest hit areas of the opioid epidemic.
More than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdose every day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The economic toll it takes on states and local governments across the country is just as staggering, costing the country $78.5 billion each year for health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. Hundreds of states, cities, counties, and tribes are suing opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies for creating and fueling a national opioid epidemic.
Both AmeriSourceBergen and McKesson told the Wall Street Journal that they were committed to working out a global settlement. Cardinal Health did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
Beasley Allen lawyers are representing local governments holding opioid companies accountable for overdose deaths and economic damages in their communities caused by the opioid crisis. Attorneys are also investigating cases of serious injuries and illness – including addiction and overdose – related to opioid use and abuse, as well as cases of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in babies born to mothers addicted to opioids. For more information, contact Melissa Prickett or Liz Eiland.