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Johnson & Johnson, 3 Drug Distributors Near $26B Opioid Accord

Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen reportedly will pay up to $26 billion to settle opioid claims.
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Health-care giant Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ)  and three major drug distributors are reportedly on the verge of signing a combined $26 billion settlement to end thousands of lawsuits filed by state governments over the opioid overdose crisis. 

Cardinal Health  (CAH) , McKesson  (MCK)  and AmerisourceBergen  (ABC)  will pay a combined $21 billion while Johnson & Johnson will pay $5 billion, with an extra $1 billion being paid by distributors to New York state, according to multiple media reports. 

Under the terms, $2 billion will cover lawyers and associated costs while 90% of the money will be used to fight the opioid crisis. More than 40 states are part of the agreement. 

An estimated 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the U.S. between 1989 and 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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Data have also showed that overdose deaths, mostly from opioids, jumped 30% in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In February New York-based consultant McKinsey reportedly agreed to settle claims that accused the firm of advising Purdue Pharma on how to “turbocharge” sales of its OxyContin painkiller.

At last check, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., was trading up 1.8% at $169.91. Cardinal Health, Dublin, Ohio, gained 6.4% to $59.63. McKesson, Irving, Texas, moved up 6.4% to $200.39. And AmerisourceBergen, Conshohocken, Pa., was 6% higher at $119.39.