U.S. states are seeking a combined US$26.4-billion from three major drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson to settle opioid litigation against the companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
About a dozen attorneys-general are seeking a collective US$21.14-billion from the distributors, which include McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc., and US$5.28-billion from J&J, the WSJ reported.
AmerisourceBergen declined to comment on the report, while Cardinal Health, J&J and McKesson did not respond to requests for comment.
“We believe this latest settlement proposal would be viewed as a favourable outcome and would expect the stocks to react positively to the news as a global settlement would put the uncertainty behind,” JPMorgan analyst Lisa Gill said.
The lawsuits accuse drugmakers of overstating the benefits of opioids while downplaying the risks and allege distributors failed to flag and halt a rising tide of suspicious orders.
A closely watched opioid trial pitting New York State against McKesson, J&J and others was postponed in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Shares of McKesson were up slightly in early trade, while others were down marginally.
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