Three major drug distributors have proposed paying $10 billion to settle claims that they played a role in fuelling the US’ opioid epidemic by downplaying risks and flooding the market with pills – but plaintiffs want much more.
It’s the first time in two years of discussions that the three companies – McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. – have put a figure on the table in an attempt to resolve the lawsuits against them, Bloomberg reported.
A McKesson spokeswoman denied that a settlement offer had been made, but Bloomberg’s sources said that there had indeed been an opening offer. AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health declined to comment.
The first trial, one of many local-government claims, was due to begin in October, but the companies want a delay, saying they need more time to prepare for what will be “one of the most complicated trials in legal history.”
The distributors saw their shares fall after reports of the settlement offer.