The country’s three largest drug distributors have agreed to pay New York State up to $ 1.2 billion to settle an ongoing lawsuit accusing the companies of helping fuel widespread opioid addiction, as negotiators move closer to a broader national resolution of thousands of similar lawsuits.
Distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc. have been on trial since late June alongside four other companies in a case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk. Distributors, although not known, are among the most profitable businesses in the country and serve as intermediaries for everything from prescription drugs to medical supplies.
“While no amount of money will ever make up for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths or the countless communities decimated by opioids, that money will be vital to preventing any future devastation,” said Ms. James.
The New York deal was announced as negotiators finalized the outlines of a $ 26 billion deal between the states and the three distributors and Johnson & Johnson. The deal would pave the way for an end to more than four years of litigation over the liability of drug distributors and drug companies for an epidemic of opioid addiction that federal data has shown has killed nearly half a million people. people in the United States from 1999 to 2019.
AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal and McKesson jointly said Tuesday that the New York settlement is an “important step” towards reaching the broader agreement. Although they dispute the allegations made against them in the lawsuit, “they believe this resolution will allow companies to focus their attention and resources on the safe and secure delivery of drugs and therapies while providing significant relief to affected communities. “the companies said.