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USA: 21 states reject $18 billion proposal to settle opioid lawsuits in hopes of higher compensation

"U.S. states reject $18 billion proposal to settle opioid lawsuits, discussions ongoing: sources," 14 Feb 2020

Twenty one states have rejected an $18 billion settlement proposal from three major U.S. drug distributors to resolve lawsuits over their alleged role in the opioid crisis, but discussion are still active, according to three sources familiar with the matter...

More than 2,500 lawsuits have been brought nationwide by states, local and tribal governments over the toll the opioid crisis has taken on their communities... 

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the states objected to a settlement offer sent to the companies’ law firms earlier this week, and were pushing for a larger payment... 

The states want the companies - AmerisourceBergen Corp, McKesson Corp and Cardinal Health Inc - to pay between $22 billion and $32 billion, the WSJ reported...

Some 400,000 U.S. overdose deaths between 1997 and 2017 were linked to opioids, according to government data... 

The lawsuits accuse drugmakers of deceptively marketing opioids in ways that downplayed their risks, and drug distributors of failing to detect and halt suspicious orders. The companies have denied any wrongdoing...

Shares of the three distributors, which together handle about 85% of the U.S. prescription drug market, were down less than 1%... 

A trial is scheduled to begin on March 20 in which the state of New York and the counties of Suffolk and Nassau are suing drug distributors, drugmakers such as Johnson & Johnson and pharmacy chains including CVS Health Corp... 

The rejection letter was signed by attorneys general for 21 states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia...

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