Four Drug Companies Settle Opioid Lawsuit with Ohio Counties for $260 Million

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Four pharmaceutical companies agreed to pay $260 million to settle the lawsuit filed by two Ohio counties alleging that they contributed to the ongoing opioid epidemic nationwide.

On Monday, AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC), Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH) and McKesson (NYSE: MCK) announced a $215 million settlement with Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio.

In a statement, the three drug companies said they “strongly dispute the allegations made by the two counties.” However, they believe that “settling the bellwether trial is an important stepping stone to achieving a global resolution and delivering meaningful relief.”

In addition, the pharmaceutical companies stated that the settlements will be used to support initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic including providing treatment, rehabilitation, mental health and other important initiatives.

Furthermore, the AmeriBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson expressed their deep concern regarding the impact of the opioid epidemic on families and communities across the United States. According to the drug companies, “We are committed to being part of the solution.”

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE: TEVA) is the fourth company that reached a settlement with the two Ohio counties.

The Israeli-based drug company agreed to pay $20 million in cash plus it will contribute $25 million worth of Suboxone, a treatment for opioid addiction, according Hunter Shkolnik, the lawyer representing Cuyahoga and Summit counties.

The four pharmaceutical companies were set to present their arguments against the allegations against them during a nine-week trial in Cleveland. It is the first federal jury trial regarding the opioid epidemic.

Walgreens did not reach a settlement with the Ohio counties

Walgreens Boots Alliance, the fifth defendant in the lawsuit did not reach a settlement agreement with the Ohio counties. The judge postponed the trial on the case.

In a statement, Walgreens said, “We never manufactured, marketed or wholesaled prescription opioid medications. Our pharmacists have always been committed to serving patients in the communities where they live and work.”

“Walgreens is completely unlike the wholesalers involved in the national opioid litigation. Before 2014, Walgreens delivered opioid medications – among many other types of medications – only to our own pharmacies, staffed by our own pharmacy professionals. We never sold opioid medications to pain clinics, internet pharmacies or the ‘pill mills’ that fueled the national opioid crisis,” the company added.