(Reuters) – McKesson Corp (N:), Cardinal Health Inc (N:) and AmerisourceBergen Corp (N:) have proposed paying more than $1 billion in legal fees for states, cities and counties suing over the companies’ handling of opioids, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources. (https://bloom.bg/37JLp2v)
The companies are hoping the legal fee overture will garner more support among governmental entities for their offer to pay $18 billion to resolve more than 2,000 lawsuits accusing them of ignoring suspiciously large opioid orders to reap billions in profits, Bloomberg reported.
Reuters reported last week that 21 states rejected an $18 billion settlement proposal from the drug distributors to resolve lawsuits over their alleged role in the opioid crisis, but discussions are still active.
Some 400,000 U.S. overdose deaths between 1997 and 2017 have been linked to opioids, according to government data.
The lawsuits accuse drugmakers of deceptively marketing opioids in ways that downplayed their risks and drug distributors of failing to detect and halt suspicious orders. The companies have denied any wrongdoing.
Shares of AmerisourceBergen and McKesson rose nearly 1%, while Cardinal Health’s shares also rose marginally.
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