Speed Reads

the eleventh hour

Drug companies reach settlement with Ohio counties to avoid federal opioid trial

Just before four drug companies were set to stand trial over their role in the opioid epidemic, a settlement has been reached.

Distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health will settle for $215 million with two Ohio counties, with manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals also paying $20 million and providing $25 million of anti-addiction medication, The Washington Post reports. This deal came shortly before opening arguments were scheduled to begin in what was to be the first federal opioid trial, the Post notes.

In the case, the plaintiffs had placed blame on the drug companies amid the opioid crisis and argued that "the distributors conspired to flout the federal law that requires them to monitor sales and report outliers," as The New York Times writes. The Monday settlement doesn't include another defendant, Walgreens, and the Post reports its case was postponed. The Ohio counties were seeking $8 billion in the case.

The Wall Street Journal notes that more than 2,300 opioid lawsuits have been brought in federal court, and the settlement announced Monday does "fall short of a more comprehensive deal currently being negotiated to resolve thousands of opioid lawsuits nationwide." Johnson & Johnson previously reached a $20.4 million settlement.