HealthDay News — A $260 million settlement in an opioid lawsuit was reached between two Ohio counties and four drug companies on Monday, just hours before opening arguments were to begin in a landmark federal trial over responsibility for the U.S. opioid crisis.
The deal is between Cuyahoga and Summit Counties and drug distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and Israel-based drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals, which makes generic opioids, the Washington Post reported.
“People can’t lose sight of the fact that the counties got a very good deal for themselves, but we also set an important national benchmark for the others,” Hunter Shkolnik, a lawyer for Cuyahoga County, told the Associated Press. The deal contains no admission of wrongdoing by the defendants. And nationwide, the pharmaceutical industry still faces more than 2,600 other lawsuits over the ongoing opioid abuse epidemic. Participants in those cases said the Ohio deal buys them time to try to work out a nationwide settlement of all claims, the AP said.
Also on Monday, Henry Schein Medical said it had reached a deal worth $1.25 million with the two counties. There was no settlement with another defendant, the retail drugstore chain Walgreens, which was sued over its own distribution operation, the Post reported.