Three major drug distributors – McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., and Cardinal Health, Inc. would collectively pay $18 billion over 18 years under a deal they’re currently negotiating, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Massive lawsuits are creating a domino effect across the drug industry, in which drug makers, distributors and even pharmacies are being sued by nearly every state, as well as thousands of city and county governments. There are currently more than 2,000 lawsuits that all allege the same thing: The industry aggressively marketed prescription painkillers – particularly opioids – and operated under very loose oversight, and those two factors contributed to the opioid crisis that’s sweeping the U.S. like wildfire.
At least 400,000 people have died from opioid overdoses in the U.S. in the past 20 years, and the litigants are suing to cover communities’ costs for battling addiction.
A final deal could include other companies, in addition to the three currently in settlement talks. Some experts have suggested that settlement should include the donation of opioid addiction treatment drugs.
Some companies plan to go to war over the suits, while others – like OxyContin manufacturer Perdue Pharma LP filed for bankruptcy last month to try to implement a settlement. Still others, like Johnson & Johnson, are ready to settle and put a cap on the total liability. Johnson & Johnson released a statement that it would “remain open to viable options to resolve these cases, including through settlement.”
What Do You Think?
Do you believe the big drug companies should settle for billions? Do you think that’s enough? What would you include in the settlement? I’d love to hear what you think about this, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or chime in on Twitter.