States Reject $18 Billion Opioid Settlement

Attorneys general for 21 states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia rejected an $18 billion offer from McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health to settle litigation over their alleged role in the opioid epidemic.

The states, including some of those hit hardest by the opioid crisis such as Ohio and West Virginia, sent a letter to the three companies’ law firms stating they want a larger total amount or for the settlement to be paid out sooner than the 18 years the defendants proposed.

“Each of you has expressed that your clients seek a settlement that is global,” the letter reads. “It is our collective view that the most recently communicated offer is unlikely to achieve that goal. We invite you to discuss our specific issues more fully so that a global settlement may be reached.”

The $18 billion offer grew out of talks with drug companies led by a group of attorneys general from North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee who did not sign the letter.

AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, and Cardinal Health say they will continue working toward a nationwide settlement but are prepared to defend themselves in court.

Several other large pharmaceutical manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, have reached billion-dollar settlements with states, cities, counties, individuals, and institutions over damages caused by the opioid epidemic.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2020.