This article was updated October 22, 2019.

Four pharmaceutical distributors have agreed to settle federal litigation related to the ongoing opioid epidemic for a collective $260 million, less than a day before a federal trial was set to begin in Ohio.1

The federal lawsuits brought against Teva Pharmaceuticals, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health by the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit are part of multidistrict litigation.1 Many lawsuits have been filed across the country against drug manufacturers and distributors, generally claiming these companies contributed to the opioid crisis through aggressive or deceptive marketing and distribution practices.2

In a combined settlement, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health jointly agreed to pay $215 million to the 2 counties. Although these companies are denying the allegations made against them, they said they believe settlement to be an important step in resolving the opioid epidemic and providing meaningful relief to those impacted. 3-5

Teva Pharmaceuticals will pay a cash settlment of $20 million to be paid over 3 years, according to the company. In addition, Teva has agreed to provide $25 million worth of its generic buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone) sublingual film product for treating opioid dependency. That medication will be distributed over 3 years in the 2 counties.6

The settlements agreed upon early Monday morning in the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio1 are part of the litigation that is largely-viewed as a bellwether3-5 case for the thousands of additional pending lawsuits around the country.1

Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos agreed to settle its litigation with Cuyahoga and Summit counties for $10 million, while Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals of Staines-Upon-Thames, United Kingdom, agreed to settle similar litigation for $30 million.2

All of these companies, including those that announced settlement agreements on Monday, were scheduled to face federal trial in Ohio.1-2 Other pharmaceutical companies that previously settled related opioid litigation with Cuyahoga and Summit counties include Allergan, and Endo Pharmaceuticals, both of Dublin, Ireland.2

Henry Schein, another company legally targeted by Summit County, announced Monday that its lawsuit was being dismissed with prejudice in the same US District Court. The company will pay $250,000 toward Summit County’s expenses.7

In a prepared statement, Board Chairman and CEO Stanley M. Bergman said the company is looking forward to playing a constructive role in ending opioid addiction. “Henry Schein will make a $1 million donation to establish an educational foundation with Summit County to develop best practices regarding the proper use and prescription of opioids,” said Bergman.7

The donation from Henry Schein will be made to a Pain Management Education Foundation that is dedicated to providing grants in support of research for pain management best practices.7

In public statements released Monday that mirrored one another, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health also vowed to work toward a global resolution for the opioid epidemic. The companies said they expect their settlement funds to be utilized in support of initiatives that combat the opioid epidemic, such as treatment, rehabilitation, and mental health, among others.3-5

No further comment was immediately received by Pharmacy Times from McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and Teva.

  1. Cooper A, Sgueglia K, Yan H. 4 pharmaceutical companies accused in the opioid epidemic reach a $260 million settlement just before trial. CNN website. Published October 21, 2019. Accessed October 21, 2019.
  2. Coppock K. Companies Settle Opioid-Related Litigation with 2 Ohio Counties. Pharmacy Times website. Published October 2, 2019. Accessed October 21, 2019.
  3. Distributors Reach Settlement With Ohio Counties in Opioids Case [news release]. Cleveland, OH; McKesson. October 21, 2019: Accessed October 21, 2019.
  4. Distributors Reach Settlement With Ohio Counties in Opioids Case [news release]. Cleveland, OH; October 21, 2019: CardinalHealth. Accessed October 21, 2019.
  5. Distributors Reach Settlement With Ohio Counties in Opioids Case [news release]. Cleveland, OH; October 21, 2019: AmericsourceBergen. Accessed October 21, 2019.
  6. Teva Settles Track 1 Opioid Cases and Reaches Agreement on Framework to Settle Remaining Litigation [press release]. Parsippany, NJ and Jerusalem; October 21, 2019: Teva Pharmaceuticals website. Accessed October 22, 2019.
  7. Henry Schein To Be Dismissed From Summit County Opioid Litigation [news release]. Melville, NY; October 21, 2019: Henry Schein website. Accessed October 21, 2019.