Pharmaceuticals

$18 Billion Settlement Talks for McKesson and Other Opioid Distributors

McKesson Corp. and other drug distributors are in talks with state attorneys general to settle all opioid disputes with $18 billion over 18 years, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

McKesson and other pharmaceutical and drug distribution companies have been named in a number of lawsuits all over the country, with states and municipalities claiming the companies didn’t control the shipment of the addictive pain pills that have led to a health epidemic nationwide, with tens of thousands of overdoses each year.

The companies have already settled several of these lawsuits, and a nationwide deal would simplify the legal maneuvering and most likely reduce the total amount paid out by the pharmaceutical giants. A $572 million dollar settlement with Oklahoma was reached this year, one of 2,000 that the company is involved with nationwide. McKesson stock bumped up over five percent after the settlement was announced.

Here in Dallas, Parkland Hospital and Health System is part of a lawsuit that 29 other healthcare organizations taking aim at McKesson and other pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit filing claims that the defendants deceived physicians with misleading marketing materials to increase prescriptions, leading to massive increases in addiction, suffering, and death.

DEA statistics say that 5.4 billion hydrocodone and oxycodone pills made their way to Texas between 2006 and 2012, and in Dallas County, enough opioids were prescribed to give every resident of Dallas County 28 pills per year over that time period. In other counties, that number was up to 88 pills per year per resident.

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