The Latest: National opioid settlement could be hard sell
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on a settlement in opioid lawsuits (all times local):
A group of state attorneys general is pushing officials from other state and local governments to accept a $48 billion deal to settle all the opioid-related lawsuits against two drugmakers and the three biggest distributors.
But it’s not going to be an easy sell.
In a statement Monday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the deal, described as a framework, is “a pile of lumber that’s been dropped on the construction site.”
The attorneys general reiterated the key points Monday of a deal that was in the works but not completed last week.
Their public push for it came hours after four of the five companies involved announced a narrow settlement with the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit to avert a trial that would have begun Monday.
State attorneys general who are negotiating with drug companies say they’re confident that other state and local governments will sign on to a settlement in principle with five companies over the opioid crisis.
The announcement from the top state government lawyers in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas came hours after two Ohio counties said they had settled their lawsuits against a drugmaker and the three distributors to avert the first federal trial on the opioid crisis. Opening statements in the Cleveland trial had been scheduled for Monday.
The plan being hammered out by the attorneys general was worked on last week. It would be worth up to $48 billion over time in cash and treatment drugs.
Paul Hanly, a lead lawyer for local governments, said it was the same deal that was already rejected. He said the companies should pay more.
The state attorneys general who were leading talks about a nationwide settlement of lawsuits over opioids say a smaller deal reached between four companies and two Ohio counties gives them time to finalize a broader agreement.
The attorneys general from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas said in a statement Monday that they’re still working on a resolution intended to distribute money fairly across the country.
Three major drug distributors and a drugmaker reached a $260 million settlement Monday with two Ohio counties just before opening statements were to begin in the first federal trial over the opioid crisis.
The attorneys general had been discussions with those companies and another in a national settlement that could be worth $48 billion.
The first federal trial on the opioid crisis has been scrapped as most of the defendants have reached settlements.
Judge Dan Polster announced from the bench Monday that the drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, along with drugmaker Teva, had reached a settlement in lawsuits filed by Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties.
Cuyahoga County lawyer Hunter Shkolnik says the settlement amounts to $260 million.
Opening statements had been scheduled to start Monday.
The deal resolves this case. But efforts by the companies to settle more than 2,000 other cases on the toll of opioids have not yet been realized. Polster said he is willing to help broker a broader deal, too.
Also Monday, the smaller distributor Henry Schein announced a $1.25 million deal to get out of the trial.
The case against the remaining defendant, Walgreens, is being delayed.
The nation’s three largest drug distributors and a drugmaker have reached a tentative deal to settle a lawsuit related to the nation’s opioid crisis.
The agreement comes within hours of the first federal trial over the crisis, with opening statements scheduled for Monday in Cleveland.
The tentative settlement involves drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKessen and drug manufacturer Teva.
Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, is trying to settle opioid lawsuits through bankruptcy court.
It’s not clear what will happen with remaining litigation if the settlements are finalized.
The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and was confirmed to The Associated Press by Paul Hanly, a lead lawyer for the local governments suing the drug industry.
Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.