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Drug distributors in talks to settle opioid litigation for $18B

State and local officials are reportedly in talks with three major drug distributors on a potential $18 billion settlement of litigation that blames them for helping to fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic.

The potential settlement would require McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health to collectively pay the $18 billion over 18 years. Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson is also involved in the discussions to pay extra money.

States, local governments and Native American tribes have filed some 2,000 opioid lawsuits against the distributors, drugmakers and other companies public officials say contributed to the opioid crisis. The three drug distributors were slated to go to trial Monday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland in what were seen as test cases for the broader litigation.

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