The Wall Street Journal: State attorneys general reject $18 billion settlement with opioid wholesalers

An $18 billion offer from three major drug wholesalers aimed at settling litigation over their alleged role in the opioid crisis fell through, after more than 20 state attorneys general rejected it in a letter to the companies’ law firms this week.

The letter, reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, shows that the drug industry hasn’t won enough support from states to begin moving the sprawling litigation to a global resolution.

At least 30 states have either sued the distributors or have been involved in talks to resolve claims. Whether they support the $18 billion offer or not, many are continuing to talk to the wholesalers.

Many in the industry had hoped the offer would be a first step toward resolving the claims outside bankruptcy. In September, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP filed for bankruptcy to help implement a settlement the company’s owners, the Sackler family, estimate to be worth at least $10 billion.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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