Opioid manufacturers, suppliers discussing $50+ billion settlement

Image Source: U.S. Air Force / Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner / MGN
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CLEVELAND (AP) (10/18/2019) - Major drug distributors and manufacturers are pressing to settle thousands of claims against them related to the nation's persistent opioid crisis as their trial date draws closer.

The companies are negotiating with state attorneys general before the first federal trial over an overdose epidemic that has claimed more than 400,000 American lives in the past two decades.

Arguments are scheduled to begin Monday against some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry unless they can strike a deal.

A source familiar with the negotiations described the outlines of a tentative nationwide settlement as worth tens of billions of dollars. The talks involve the distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, as well as drug makers Johnson & Johnson and Teva.

The three major drug distributors and two drug manufacturers have the outlines of a settlement to thousands of opioid-related lawsuits that could be worth $50 billion over time.

According to a source, the companies are are proposing a combined $18 billion payment over 18 years. Johnson & Johnson is in talks to pay another $4 billion.

Most of those companies are defendants in the Cleveland trial on claims from Ohio's Cuyahoga and Summit counties.