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Drugs firms reach $260m US opioid settlement

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Four drugs companies have reached a $260m (£200m) deal with two Ohio counties over their role in fuelling the US opioid crisis.

In Monday’s deal, they did not admit guilt. But McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen Corp agreed to pay $215m, while Teva is paying $20m and will contribute $25m worth of treatment medication.

Later on Monday, Teva also said it had reached an “agreement in principle” for a global settlement, which would see it pay $250m and donate treatment medication worth an estimated $23bn over 10 years.

The case involving Ohio’s Summit and Cuyahoga counties had been closely watched as the first of thousands of similar ones to go forward.

The two jurisdictions have already struck deals worth more than $66m with firms that include Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Allergan.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish called Monday’s deal “a very good development” that will provide money for recovery programmes and other assistance.

“This settlement helps us address the mitigation of the terrible damage that’s been caused,” he said. “There’s still more to go. And we’re going to continue to work on it.”

The opioid crisis cost the US more than $630bn from 2015 through 2018 in healthcare and policing expense, lost income and other costs, according to recent estimates by the US Society of Actuaries.

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