Four drug companies just reached a $260 million settlement to avoid a larger trial that blames them for fueling the raging opioid issues. In fact, lawsuits alleged the drug industry pushed opioid painkillers without warning of the risk of addiction.
McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen agreed to pay $215 million. Teva Pharmaceuticals will pay $20 million in cash over the next two year, and donate $25 million toward addiction-treatment medication. This now ends lawsuits by two Ohio counties.
Earlier in October 2018, Johnson & Johnson also announced it would pay a $10 million settlement, $5 million in legal fees, and pay a $5.4 million charitable contribution to settle their role in the opioid crisis in Ohio, as well. Another defendant – Henry Schein Inc. noted it was dismissed as a defendant after agreeing to a deal for up to $1.25 million, says Reuters.
However, this does not end all of the lawsuits against drug makers. Reportedly, this settlement only applies to the two Ohio counties involved.
Walgreens Boots Alliance did not reach a deal with trial pending.
“Walgreens is completely unlike the wholesalers involved in the national opioid litigation,” the company told ABC News. “Walgreens never manufactured prescription opioid medications. We never marketed or promoted opioid medications. We never prescribed any opioid medications. Walgreens was not a wholesaler of opioid medications.”
Despite these settlements, may companies deny wrongdoing. Many note their products carried the U.S. FDA approved labels that did warn of the addictive risks of opioid medications.
In the end, there’s hope this may help with the ongoing opioid issue.
According to the U.S. Society of Actuaries, as noted by the Associated Press, the crisis has cost the U.S. economy $641 billion from 2015 through October 2019.
A 2017 study from the White House Council of Economic Advisers also found that the crisis has cost the economy up to $500 billion a year.
Also, since 2000, more than 400,000 Americans have lost their lives to opioids.