Three companies accused of fueling the opioid crisis are reportedly ready to settle.
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McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. have proposed paying $10 billion to settle states' claims against them, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations.
The pharmaceutical distributors have been named in lawsuits accusing them of irresponsibly flooding the market with addictive painkillers. The National Association of Attorneys General countered their offer with a demand for $45 billion, seeking to cover public costs of the epidemic, according to the report.
The three companies are among the defendants named in thousands of lawsuits filed by states, counties and cities against drug makers and distributors over the opioid crisis.
“We regularly engage with the state attorneys general, but the company has made no settlement offers,” a McKesson spokesperson told Bloomberg.
Last month, The Washington Post obtained court filings showing 76 billion opioid pills were distributed to pharmacies across the U.S. between 2006 and 2012.
According to DEA numbers obtained by the Washington Post and HD Media, these are the top distributors of opioids between 2006 and 2012.
Officials across the country have pointed to the number of local deaths and the costs they’ve said their communities took on to deal with the crisis in their respective lawsuits.
Many of the cases have been consolidated under one U.S. district judge in Cleveland. The first trial was due to start Oct. 21, but the companies are seeking a delay to prepare, Bloomberg reported.
In another recent case, Arizona officials accused Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family who control the company of illegally marketing opioids. In an unusual move, the state filed that lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court, citing the national importance of the epidemic.
Even small companies tied to opioids have been targeted with legal action. A federal grand jury in Cincinnati indicted last month two pharmacists and two former leaders of a local pharmaceutical distributor on charges of conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances.