McKesson stated a possible opioid regulation proposal was raised to as a lot as $ 21 billion

© Reuters.

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – McKesson Corp (N 🙂 said Tuesday it and two other drug distributors could pay up to $ 21 billion for the possible settlement of legal disputes that allegedly fueled the U.S. opioid epidemic.

McKesson, together with AmerisourceBergen (N 🙂 and Cardinal health (N 🙂 had proposed a total of $ 18 billion to settle over 3,000 lawsuits in October last year, while drug maker Johnson & Johnson (N 🙂 paid $ 4 billion.

AmerisourceBergen declined to comment. Cardinal Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Most of the lawsuits, filed by states, counties and cities, sought to blame companies for an opioid addiction epidemic that resulted in 450,000 overdose deaths from 1997 to 2018, according to the US government.

This proposal, which was part of a settlement framework negotiated with four attorneys general, met opposition from lawyers for local governments and several states, which sparked further discussions. J&J said on Oct. 13 it would now contribute $ 5 billion.

McKesson said in a quarterly report that the San Francisco-based company would pay about $ 8 billion over 18 years under the new $ 21 billion settlement framework proposed by attorneys general.

The three distributors would also need to make changes to their programs to prevent drugs from being diversified for illegal purposes, McKesson said.

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