INTERNATIONAL: Drugs firms reach US$260 million opioid settlement

Monday, October 21, 2019 - 07:00

Four drugs companies have reached a $260m (£200m) deal with two Ohio counties over their role in fuelling the US opioid crisis.

The agreement averts a trial that had been scheduled to start in Ohio.

The counties had been seeking billions from Israel-based drugmaker Teva and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.

A trial for Walgreens Boots Alliance, which had also been accused, will be rescheduled.

The last-minute deal was announced on Monday by the judge overseeing the trial in Cleveland.

Talks over a bigger settlement, which would have covered claims brought by thousands of other cities, counties and states, had collapsed on Friday.

The companies, which have denied wrongdoing, are accused of ignoring suspicious orders and downplaying the risks of opioids, which have been linked to about 400,000 overdose deaths in the US between 1997 and 2017.

This case had been closely watched as the first of thousands of similar ones to go forward. Summit and Cuyahoga counties have reached earlier settlements worth more than $66m with firms that include Johnson & Johnson and Allergan.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish called Monday's deal "a very good development" that will provide money for treatment programmes and other assistance.

"This settlement helps us address the mitigation of the terrible damage that's been caused," he said. "There's still more to go. And we're going to continue to work on it."


Story and Image courtesy BBC NEWS