Drugmakers such as Johnson & Johnson, Allergan and Endo are hoping to piggyback off Purdue Pharma’s settlement to end the massive web of opioid lawsuits.
The proposal, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, would enact a global settlement of 2,000-plus opioid trials through Purdue and the Sackler family’s bankruptcy deal. Five companies are in on the plan: Endo, J&J, Teva, Allergan and Mallinckrodt, according to the report.
If the plan goes through, these companies would contribute money to the trust set up through Purdue’s bankruptcy. It would also release the businesses from liability in potentially thousands of pending opioid cases.
The problem is that about half of the states that are involved in the Ohio federal case did not agree to Purdue’s settlement deal, which is valued at up to $12 billion. But if the new plan goes through, it could significantly shrink the number of pending cases.
The combined federal lawsuits will go to trial in Ohio on October 21. Last week, Teva and J&J laid out their defense strategy for the trial, which looked a lot like J&J’s defense in the Oklahoma opioid trial that took place this year. J&J lost that case and was ordered to pay the state $572 million, less than what many observers expected.
This proposal is in the early stages. Purdue, its lawyers and the bankruptcy court have yet to weigh in, not to mention that state and local attorneys would also have to agree.
No numbers have been discussed, according to the WSJ. However, they would probably look like some settlements that have been struck. Mallinckrodt, for example, reached a deal to pay $24 million to settle the Ohio lawsuits this week. Endo and Allergan reached a deal to settle for $10 million and $5 million, respectively, in August. Teva and J&J have not proposed settlement terms for the Ohio cases, but Teva did settle the Oklahoma lawsuit for $85 million days before that trial began.
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