Just hours before the first federal trial over the opioid epidemic was set to begin on Monday, four major drug companies reached a last-minute settlement with two Ohio counties in the case.
Lawyers involved in the trial announced the tentative settlement early Monday morning. It would require AmerisourceBergen Corp.; Cardinal Health Inc.; McKesson Corp.; and Israel-based drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to fork over a combined $260 million to the counties in cash and addiction-treatment drugs.
The sole defendant left in the case — Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. — will now go on trial at a later date.
The two Ohio counties filed lawsuits against the companies, accusing them of helping to fuel the opioid crisis and contribute to thousands of deaths over the course of two decades.
Last week, the same defendants were trying to negotiate a broader, nearly $50 billion deal that would settle thousands of lawsuits from counties, cities, communities and tribal lands over the epidemic. But at the end of the day, they couldn't come to an agreement.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.