U.S. States Reject Drug Wholesalers' Opioid-Settlement Offer

The 21 U.S. state attorneys general who sued opioid makers rejected a settlement offer of $18 billion from three drugmakers that were looking to end the litigation against them, a media report says.
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The 21 U.S. state attorneys general who sued opioid makers rejected a settlement offer of $18 billion from three drugmakers that were looking to end the litigation against them, a Friday media report says.

Instead, the states want AmeriSourceBergen  (ABC) - Get Report, McKesson (MCK) - Get Report and Cardinal Health  (CAH) - Get Report to pay between $22 billion and $32 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

McKesson is focused on finalizing a global settlement structure that would provide billions of dollars in immediate funding for states affected by the opioid crisis, according to an emailed statement cited by Reuters.

"We are committed to being part of the solution, but are also prepared to defend ourselves vigorously if the litigation progresses," a company spokesman said in the statement.

Meanwhile, AmeriSource told the Journal that it was committed to a “fair negotiated resolution” and was preparing for the upcoming litigation.

AmeriSource shares dropped 1.5% to $93.14 Friday on the news while Cardinal Health declined 0.5% to $59.09 and McKesson fell 1.1% to $166.10.

Earlier this week, AmeriSource stock hit a 52-week high of $97.50

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. killed more than 700,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Some 68%, more than two-thirds, of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid.

On average, 130 Americans a day die from opioid overdoses. The number of overdose deaths involving opioids was six times higher in 2017 than it was in 1999.