Is the US opioid litigation nearing an end game?
Drugmakers, wholesalers and lawmakers in the US are said to be thrashing out the details of a big settlement – maybe as much as $50 billion – to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the US opioid crisis. The frenzied negotiations are taking place ahead of the start of the first federal trial next week that will try to determine culpability for the epidemic of opioid addiction, overdoses and fatalities that has gripped the US in recent years. According to reports, the settlement offer has been made by pharma companies Teva and Johnson & Johnson, as well as the ‘big three’ US wholesale distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. The deal includes $22 billion in cash as well as another $15 billion in drugs to treat opioid dependency and overdose and an estimated $14 billion allocated for distribution of those therapies, according to an Associated Press article. It says the wholesalers would contribute $18 billion over 18 years, J&J would contribute $4 billion, while financially troubled Teva would supply $15 billion in drugs over 10 years as well as distribution services – but no cash – to safeguard it from bankruptcy.