Cardinal Health is a major distributor of opioids. Photo: Ty Wright / Bloomberg via Getty

More cities and counties are suing opioid manufacturers and drug distributors, alleging those companies instigated the opioid crisis through deceptive marketing and negligance. Executives of Cardinal Health, a major drug wholesaler, believe they have done the right things but won't rule out a settlement down the road.

What they said: "Down the line (if there is a) more potentially efficient way to go, there might be a settlement. But that’s probably going to be a long time off, and it’s really hard for me to quantify it at this point in time," Cardinal Health CEO Mike Kaufmann said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

Kaufmann defended his company's record, saying Cardinal Health has invested in programs that prevent opioid misuse. But many state officials believe those programs haven't gone far enough, resulting in dozens of lawsuits that could fetch a settlement in the billions.

"Does that mean with all this going on that down the line there might be some type of settlement? Possibly. It’s something that we’ll have to take a look at in the future," Kaufmann said. "Do we feel that we’ve done all the right things? Do I feel that we are in an incredibly good position? I do. This isn’t something where we’re just going to…settle because we haven’t done anything right."

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