Opioids

The opioid epidemic will cost the U.S. as much as $214 billion in 2019

Hypodermic needles litter the ground in the South Bronx on March 13, 2019.
Hypodermic needles on the ground in the South Bronx on March 13, 2019. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The opioid epidemic cost the U.S. economy at least $631 billion from 2015 to 2018, and it'll cost another $172–$214 billion this year, according to a new analysis by the Society of Actuaries.

Why it matters: There's a serious financial incentive to address the opioid crisis, as well as a moral one.

3 major drug distributors discussing $18 billion opioids settlement

McKesson Headquarters
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Three major drug distributors — McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health — are discussing an $18 billion settlement to resolve opioid litigation brought by state and local governments, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The distributors, along with drug manufacturers and pharmacies, have been accused of contributing to the country's opioid epidemic through aggressive marketing and inadequate distribution oversight.