Law & the Courts

Four Major Drug Companies Reach Deal in Opioids Lawsuit

A pharmacist holds prescription OxyContin pills (Reuters photo: George Frey)

Four of the nation’s largest drug companies have reached a deal allowing them to avoid a federal jury trial in an Ohio lawsuit accusing them of catalyzing the state’s opioid crisis.

Drug distributors McKessen, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health and drug manufacturer Teva reached tentative settlements putting off the first federal trial relating to the nations’s opioid epidemic. It remains to be seen whether the trial, scheduled for Monday in Cleveland, will move forward against the only defendant who has not yet reached a deal, Walgreens Boots Alliance.

The suits brought by Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties accused the pharmaceutical industry of irresponsibly fueling the opioid crisis by marketing them without adequately warning about their highly addictive nature. More than 2,300 additional lawsuits against the companies brought by local governments and others remain unresolved.

Last year, the three drug distributors comprised 95 percent of the U.S. drug distribution market. The trial would have marked the first time evidence was presented and witnesses questioned in open court regarding how much drug companies are to blame for the opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma, maker of the painkiller OxyContin, reached a tentative comprehensive settlement last month with 22 state attorneys general and thousands of local governments and tribes. The $10 billion to $12 billion settlement reportedly requires the dissolution of the Stamford, Conn. company, which is accused of helping jump-start the opioid epidemic and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Details of the settlement between the Ohio counties and the four drug companies were not immediately available.

Close to 400,000 Americans are estimated to have died between 1999 and 2017 as a result of the opioid crisis. Almost every state along with thousands of local governments and other entities have sued the pharmaceutical industry over the opioid crisis.

Most Popular


‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Theater of Trolls

As a boy, I used to watch a television show with a weekly gag titled “MasterJoke Theatre.” A pompous egghead smoked a pipe in a leather-bound chair in a richly appointed library, told a joke, and got a pie in the face for his trouble. What the Democrats launched on the Hill this week is their own variant, ... Read More

A Defining Statement of Modern Conservatism

The greatest documents in American history never lose their ability to astonish. They deserve, and repay, careful study, and inevitably have contemporary resonances no matter how long ago they were written or uttered. There’s no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” belongs in the top ranks ... Read More
White House

The Russian Conspiracy That Won’t Die

The Mueller report accomplished nothing. Whether you thought that the two-year, $32 million investigation was warranted or not, the report promised to establish a factual record that both sides could accept, especially on the explosive charge that Donald Trump had conspired with the Russians to win the ... Read More