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States Ask for $26.4 Billion in Opioid Litigation

Communities Battle COVID-19 and the Opioid Crisis

US states are asking for about $26.4 billion from drug makers and drug distributors to help pay for damage resulting from the opioid crisis. Many communities dealing with opioid overdoses have also been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and are struggling to treat people impacted by the virus and by addiction.

Current talks are centered around drug distribution companies McKesson Corp. (MCK), AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC), and Cardinal Health Inc (CAH). These distribution companies have faced criticism for failing to investigate suspicious orders. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which manufactures opioids, is also under scrutiny.

Talks Between States and Drug Companies Unfold

About 12 attorneys general, from Florida, Delaware, North Carolina, and other states spoke with drug companies on Monday and made their most recent settlement requests. States are asking for $21.14 billion from McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal, and $5.28 billion from Johnson & Johnson.

An important round of trials involving Ohio and West Virginia was scheduled to take place in March, but was delayed due to COVID-19. New trial dates have now been set for October.

The Emotional and Financial Toll of the Opioid Crisis

Over the past two decades, at least 400,000 people in the US have died from overdoses of legal and illegal opioids.

The opioid crisis has been emotionally and financially costly for the places it impacts. These communities have had to pay for emergency services, medical care, and foster care for children whose parents are impacted by opioids. Many are hoping that lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies will help pay back some of these costs.

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