With a nationwide settlement of around $26 billion insight because of claims that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and the 3 biggest drug distributors in the United States helped fuel a countrywide opioid epidemic. Local governments and the states themselves will soon be concentrating on a handful of pharmacies and drug makers. State attorney generals are expected to announce settlement proposals with distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE: ABC), Cardinal Health Inc (NYSE: CAH), and McKesson Corporation (NYSE: MCK), contributing a combined total of about $21 billion, while $5 billion would be paid by Johnson & Johnson.
The ultimate settlement price could fluctuate in any direction depending on how local and state governments agree or reject the deal to litigate by themselves. Over 3,000 lawsuits have been filed because of this opioid epidemic against a wide range of businesses for downplaying how risky the drugs are and the lax control protocols that allow for the highly addictive opioids to overflow in the communities.
Excluded from this $26 billion nationwide deal are pharmacies such as CVS Health Corp (NYSE: CVS), Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD), Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: WBA). These companies have all been accused of turning a blind eye to the red flags that these highly addictive painkillers found their way into illegal channels. The deal wouldn’t include drugmakers such as Endo International Plc (NASDAQ: ENDP), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NYSE: TEVA), or AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), which have also all been accused of misleading consumers about how safe their drugs are.
Almost 500,000 folks died from painkiller overdoses in the US from around 1999 to 2019. This is according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In addition, the CDC said provisional information showed that drug overdose deaths were a record high in 2020, with a 29% increase from the previous year.
The drugmakers and pharmacies involved have denied all these claims stating that the rise in opioid prescriptions was because of the physicians and doctors. In addition, they all claim that they were in accordance with federal law when they were marketing these drugs and that the risks they were aware of were highlighted in the United States-approved drug labels.
News of this countrywide settlement came to a couple of weeks after a particular New York Jury trial. Many Legal professionals also believe that upcoming court trials will also pressure many defendants to strike a deal. The drugmakers are battling it out in courts in Orange County and New York.