Litigation Update: Opioid Manufacturers Reach Settlement Ahead of October Bellwether Trial

Drug manufacturers Endo International Plc and Allergan Plc have agreed to pay $15 million to two Ohio counties in an effort to avoid an upcoming trial pending in federal court in Cleveland. The two counties’ cases scheduled to proceed on October 21 were selected to comprise the first bellwether trial out of the multidistrict litigation involving over 2000 lawsuits; the lawsuits accuse the drug manufacturers and distributors of contributing to the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Endo will pay Cuyahoga and Summit counties $10 million and provide up to $1 million worth of two of its drug products, Vasostrict and Adrenalin, free of charge; for its part, Allergan will pay the counties $5 million. Although the settlement will allow Endo to avoid the October trial, because the settlement with Allergan includes only its branded drugs, claims against it that arise from generic drugs may still be pursued. In addition, both companies may still battle claims brought by other state and local governments around the country.

Drug manufacturers Purdue Pharma LP, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Johnson & Johnson and drug distributors McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and AmerisourceBergen Corp. are still scheduled to proceed to trial in October.

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