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By Sara Randazzo
Three major drug distributors are in talks to pay $18 billion to settle sweeping litigation brought by state and local governments blaming them for fueling the opioid crisis, people familiar with the discussions said, potentially marking a broad resolution to lawsuits that have shaken the pharmaceutical industry.
The three distributors -- McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., and Cardinal Health Inc. -- would collectively pay $18 billion over 18 years under the deal currently on the table, the people said. Johnson & Johnson is also involved in the discussions to contribute additional money, some of the people said.
Players up and down the pharmaceutical supply chain, including drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies, have been sued by virtually every state and thousands of city and county governments. Over 2,000 lawsuits allege the industry's overly aggressive marketing of prescription painkillers and lax oversight over drug distribution contributed to widespread opioid addiction.
At least 400,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses of legal and illegal opioids since 1999, according to federal data. The lawsuits are seeking to recoup the costs borne by communities grappling with widespread addiction, including burdens on emergency services, medical care and foster services for children born to addicted parents.
(More to come)
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 15, 2019 16:41 ET (20:41 GMT)
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