Aug 6, 2019

Opioid distributors offer $10 billion settlement

McKesson's old headquarters in San Francisco. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The 3 major prescription drug distributors — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — have proposed paying a combined $10 billion to settle the national lawsuit alleging they fueled the opioid crisis through negligent shipping and monitoring of painkillers, Bloomberg reports. States countered with $45 billion.

Why it matters: This is the first look into what the health care industry is willing to pay to make this lawsuit go away. Drug wholesalers operate large cash flows, making a settlement of this size rather manageable for them, but it'd still be a hit to shareholders' pockets because the companies run on low net profit margins.

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Wall Street's fear of an opioids settlement

Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

The stock prices of AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson plummeted yesterday after Bloomberg reported the drug distributors made an opening offer of $10 billion to settle their portion of the national opioids lawsuit.

Between the lines: That figure was a lot higher than Wall Street had expected for those companies, indicating that other defendants — including opioid manufacturers — likely would pay tens of billions of dollars to avoid going to trial.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

Purdue Pharma reportedly offers $10 billion to settle opioids lawsuit

Protestors demonstrate in front of the Louvre against the French museum's ties to the Sackler family. Photo: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, have proposed a settlement in the nationwide opioids lawsuit that would be worth $10 billion–$12 billion, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Purdue is the focal point of this litigation, but the proposed settlement would amount to only a fraction of what the opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. — and only about a third of Purdue's OxyContin sales.

Go deeperArrowAug 27, 2019

Johnson & Johnson loses Oklahoma opioids lawsuit

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A judge in Oklahoma ruled today that Johnson & Johnson was responsible for fueling the state's opioid epidemic and will have to pay $572 million in damages — far less than the $17 billion the state had demanded. J&J said it would appeal the decision.

Why it matters: This is a groundbreaking ruling and a potentially ominous harbinger for the opioid companies and distributors at the heart of the enormous national lawsuit pending before an Ohio judge.