Washington Post

Tentative opioid deal would provide $26 billion and a new way to regulate painkillers

WASHINGTON - More than two decades and 500,000 overdose deaths after the U.S. opioid epidemic began, the biggest penalty for drug companies' role in the crisis was announced Tuesday, when lawyers for states, cities and counties detailed a tentative settlement worth $26 billion.

The three major drug distributors - which federal law assigns primary responsibility for preventing illegal diversion of pharmaceutical painkillers - would pay $21 billion over 18 years. Those companies, McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, have been accused of ignoring clear signs that billions of pills spilled onto the black market and contributed to the U.S. addiction problem...

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