Drug Companies Reach $260 Million Settlement of Ohio Opioid Trial

Two Ohio counties and four major drug distributors who would have been involved in the first federal opioid trial have agreed to a $260 million settlement. McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and Teva will provide a combination of cash payouts and donations of addiction treatments to Cuyahoga and Summit counties.

“We hope it provides a benchmark for a national resolution for other communities to have the resources to do what is necessary to abate the epidemic,” said Peter H. Weinberger, a lawyer representing the Ohio counties.

In addition, the four defendants are pursuing a $48 billion global deal to resolve all remaining opioid-related lawsuits that states, counties, cities, and institutions have filed against them.

A fifth defendant, Walgreens, did not participate in the settlement and its trial has been postponed until next year.

Companies that have previously settled to avoid going to trial include Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, and Johnson & Johnson. Henry Schein Medical, a small drug distributor, also reached a deal, agreeing to donate $1 million to educational efforts around opioid addiction treatment in Summit County, in addition to paying $250,000 of the county’s legal expenses.

While the four companies involved in the deal admit no wrongdoing, they “expect settlement funds to be used in support of initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic, including treatment, rehabilitation, mental health and other important efforts,” according to a joint statement.

Sources: The New York Times, October 21, 2019; The Washington Post, October 21, 2019; The New York Times, October 18, 2019.