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Drug distributors face off in opposition to West Virginia in billion-dollar opioid trial By Reuters

Drug distributors face off against West Virginia in billion-dollar opioid trial

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A fat syringe, empty syringe and spoon sit on the roof of the car in Lynn

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) – The three biggest U.S. drug distributors, who are accused of helping gasoline the opioid crisis that has resulted in practically 500,000 overdose deaths in the United States, will defend themselves in a trial that kicks off on Monday.

The trial in opposition to AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:) Corp, McKesson Corp (NYSE:) and Cardinal Health Inc (NYSE:) in Charleston, West Virginia, entails a lawsuit making an strive for added than $1 billion introduced by the city of Huntington and Cabell County.

They claim the companies uncared for red flags that opioids had been being diverted to illegal channels, flooding the insist with loads of hundreds of thousands of highly addictive pills.

The distributors salvage denied the claims, arguing they are able to’t be accountable for distributing pills that had been prescribed by doctors.

Huntington and Cabell, along with varied West Virginia towns and counties, opted out of a proposed $26 billion nationwide settlement with the three distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:).

A verdict in the trial could perchance perchance aid lay the groundwork for settlements in the sprawling nationwide litigation over the opioid crisis, which encompasses extra than 3,300 lawsuits by local governments across the nation in opposition to opioid producers, distributors and pharmacies.

Opioids salvage resulted in the overdose deaths of practically 500,000 folks in the United States from 1999 to 2019, in step with U.S. Centers for Disease Support a watch on and Prevention. West Virginia is among the toughest hit states, recording extra opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths per capita than any varied in 2018, in step with info from the National Institutes of Health.

One more opioid trial is underway in a case introduced by California counties in opposition to J&J and varied drugmakers, and a trial in a case introduced by Unique York counties is scheduled to initiate subsequent month.

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