US states unveiled a landmark $26bn settlement with four drug companies to resolve thousands of opioid lawsuits, which would bring an end to years of legal battles over a prescription painkiller crisis that has devastated communities across the country.
States including New York and Pennsylvania on Wednesday announced the agreement with the country’s three largest drug distributors — McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen — as well as Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest healthcare company.
The opioid epidemic has claimed more than half a million lives across the US in the past 20 years and torn apart families. Faced with a mounting bill to deal with the fallout, government officials have filed thousands of lawsuits claiming that various drugmakers and distributors fuelled the crisis.
“These companies continued to profit off the misery, death and…