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Oklahoma Settles $250M With Drug Distributors Over Opioid Crisis

Oklahoma reached a $250 million settlement with AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp resolve allegations the drug distributors contributed to the opioid epidemic in the state, said Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor, Reuters reports. O'Connor said Oklahoma recovered more money from the distributors than the state would have received if it had joined a nationwide $26 billion settlement announced last year. The national settlement also includes Johnson & Johnson. Oklahoma sued J&J separately, but in November the case was thrown out on appeal, negating a $465 million trial judgment and undermining Oklahoma's legal theories in its opioid litigation.

AmerisourceBergen said drug distributors have been forced to "walk a legal and ethical tightrope" without clearer regulatory guidance on how to protect consumers from legal but potentially dangerous drugs. Oklahoma was the last state pursuing litigation related to opioids against the three distributors. Alabama is still suing Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen after settling with McKesson. Local governments in West Virginia are pursuing cases after the state settled. Oklahoma will use at least eighty five percent of the funds to help abate the opioid addiction crisis in the state, according to O'Connor. The distributors have denied wrongdoing in the epidemic, which has caused 500,000 U.S. overdose deaths during the past two decades.


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