A verbal proposal to pay $10 billion to settle claims related to the U.S. opioid epidemic was discussed amongst McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Corp and a group of state attorneys general.
The companies cover a major portion of providing prescription medications to U.S. pharmacies. This is the first time in two years where the distributors have declared a dollar value to settle the claims. A demand of $45 billion to cover costs from the public-health crisis of opioid addiction and overdoses has been countered by The National Association of Attorneys General, representing more than 35 states.
According to the people familiar with the negotiations, this is the first sign of progress in resolving state lawsuits against the drug distributors.
Kristin Hunter Chasen, a McKesson spokeswoman, said, "As we explore whether resolution is possible, we share Judge Polster’s view that ‘any resolution has to be a global one,’ which includes states, local governments, cities, and counties." Chasen also stated that they are constantly engaging with other defendants to find a resolution and the company has not yet made any settlement offer. Spokesperson for AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health did not comment on the proposal.
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster is presiding over more than 1,900 lawsuits filed under MDL No. 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) by U.S. cities and counties, each seeking damages for costs associated with addiction and abuse.