Drug firms offer $22 bln to settle opioid suits

Drug firms offer $22 bln to settle opioid suits

Drug firms offer $22 bln to settle opioid suits

Five drugmakers and distributors are offering $22 billion in cash as well as drugs and services they value at $28 billion to resolve lawsuits alleging the industry fueled the U.S. opioid crisis, two sources familiar with the matter said on Oct. 16.

The drug industry faces roughly 2,600 lawsuits brought by state and local governments, hospitals and other entities seeking to hold drugmakers and distributors responsible for the toll of opioid abuse. Local governments seek funds to cover the costs of services in their communities.

Distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health have offered to pay $18 billion in cash over 18 years, while drugmaker Johnson & Johnson would pay $4 billion in cash, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Teva Pharmaceutical has offered to give away medications it values at $15 billion as part of the deal and provide distribution services it values in the billions, one of the people said.

Both said that Teva’s proposed agreement would run over 10 years and had a total estimated value of around $28 billion. However, it is not clear how the valuation was reached, and one source said some states are asking whether Teva should pay cash as well.

The negotiations are being led by the attorneys general for Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

The sources cautioned that there was no guarantee a deal would be struck.

Opioid addiction claimed roughly 400,000 lives in the United States from 1999 to 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.