Cuyahoga and Summit County settle in groundbreaking opioid trial

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File photo(Keith Srakocic | (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic))
Updated: Oct. 21, 2019 at 11:37 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Companies reached a $260M settlement in a landmark opiod trial.

State and local governments were going up against makers and distributors of the highly addictive painkillers, opioids.

The settlement ends only the suits brought by the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit.

“People can’t lose sight of the fact that the counties got a very good deal for themselves, but we also set an important national benchmark for the others,” Shkolnick said.

Hunter Shkolnick, a lawyer for Cuyahoga County

An offer of $48 billion in cash, treatment drugs and services was rejected as lawyers for the 2,400 cities and counties involved clashed with states attorneys general over the distribution of the settlement.

Cuyahoga and Summit counties say the drug companies are to blame for the opioid epidemic. They want someone to pay for the overdose deaths that have plagued Northeast Ohio.

One of the key issues: The counties say the makers of opioids downplayed their addictive risks.

The suit is going after about a half dozen companies-- including Teva Pharmaceutical, McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Walgreens, and Henry Schein.

Laywers for Cuyahoga and Summit counties say they’ll prove the companies didn’t follow federal laws that make them report unusual activity-- allowing an reckless amount of pills to be shipped to doctors and pharmacies-- which wound up in patients’ hands.

“The facts will show that opioid makers and distributors conspired to create and benefit from the worst public health crisis in decades,” according to attorney Paul J. Hanly, Jr.

The companies say they’ve followed all federal regulations.

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