US drug companies reach $378m settlement over opioid addiction epidemic
Four large drug companies have reached a last-minute $US260 million ($378 million) legal settlement over their role in the US opioid addiction epidemic, averting a trial that was about to start.
The settlement covers drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson and Israel-based drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and ends lawsuits by two Ohio counties.
Lawyer for the counties Hunter Shklonik said Teva is paying $US20 million ($29 million) in cash and will contribute $US25 million ($36 million) worth of Suboxone, an opioid addiction treatment.
Talks with the same defendants collapsed on Friday.
The talks were aimed at reaching a broader $US48 billion ($70 billion) settlement covering thousands of lawsuits filed by counties, towns and states from across the country over the crisis.
The judge overseeing today's trial said he would work out a new trial date for the remaining defendant, pharmacy chain operator Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Some 400,000 US overdose deaths between 1997 and 2017 were linked to opioids, according to government data.
© AAP 2019