by Nate Raymond
BOSTON (Reuters) – Justice ministers from several states in the United States are expected to announce a landmark $ 26 billion deal on Wednesday to settle a dispute with the country’s three major drug distributors and the Johnson & Johnson lab, accused of having fueled the national opioid crisis, we learned from a person familiar with the matter.
Under the proposed deal, distributors McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen are expected to pay out between them $ 21 billion, while Johnson & Johnson are said to pay $ 5 billion.
According to the source, more than 40 US states have planned to sign the agreement, while others may decide instead to continue the lawsuits initiated locally. States will be given 30 days to decide, the source said.
The amounts mentioned correspond to announcements made in advance by the four companies on what they expected to pay to settle long-standing disputes related to the opioid crisis in the United States.
“There continues to be progress towards this agreement and we remain committed to providing certainty to affected parties and critical assistance to families and communities in need,” J&J said in a statement.
No comment was obtained from the three distributors, who have in the past denied any infringement.
Nearly 500,000 people have died from opioid-related overdoses in the United States between 1999 and 2019, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
(Nate Raymond report; French version Jean Terzian)