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Cardinal Health took a pre-tax charge of $1.02-billion related to costs stemming from lawsuits alleging the company helped fuel the U.S. opioid crisis.The Associated Press

Drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Health Inc on Thursday reported $7.62 billion in costs between them related to the thousands of lawsuits alleging they helped fuel the U.S. opioid crisis.

In its quarterly results, AmerisourceBergen said it included a $6.6 billion expense related to opioid lawsuits, while Cardinal said it took a pre-tax charge of $1.02 billion.

McKesson on Tuesday said it and two other major U.S. drug distributors could be expected to pay up to $21 billion under a new proposal to resolve the opioid lawsuits.

Last year, the three drug distributors proposed paying a combined total of $18 billion to resolve the roughly 3,200 lawsuits, with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson paying another $4 billion.

That proposal, part of a settlement framework negotiated with four state attorneys general, met resistance from lawyers for local governments and several states, leading to further talks. J&J said last month it would now pay $5 billion.

AmerisourceBergen said on Thursday it was in advanced discussions to reach a global settlement to be paid over an 18-year period to resolve existing and potential cases.

Cardinal said the total pre-tax accrual for the lawsuits amounted to $6.59 billion as of Sept. 30, 2020.

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