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McKesson, drug distributor faces $ 95 billion opioid trial in Washington



(Reuters) – A lawsuit against Washington State against McKesson Corp. and two other drug distributors accused of pushing for the US opioid epidemic will launch on Monday, after the state attorney general declined to agree to a nationwide $ 26 billion deal.

Washington Prosecutor Bob Ferguson has indicted McKesson, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. to create a nuisance to the public by failing to prevent the diversion of prescription pills to illegal channels.

Washington is seeking $ 38.2 billion to fund treatment and other programs and billions more in penalties and forfeited profits. Distributors, who deny the crime, say the state wants a "wildly inflated recovery" of more than $ 95 billion.

More than 3,300 lawsuits by largely state and local authorities have been filed to hold these and other companies responsible for a drug addiction crisis, according to the U.S. government, which led to nearly 500,000 opioid overdose deaths over two decades.

Washington [5259002] . Ferguson, a Democrat, has criticized the deal as "not nearly good enough" and said the nearly $ 30 million the state and its communities receive on average annually was insufficient to deal with the devastation caused by the epidemic.

The state became one.

"Families in Washington devastated by the opioid epidemic deserve their day in court," Ferguson said in a statement.

The companies deny. errors, arguing that the increase in pills was due to increasing prescriptions and other factors and that they had systems in place to prevent drug diversion. They claim that the distribution of regulated drugs cannot support a claim of general inconvenience.

Complaints in some of the other opioid cases have recently suffered setbacks by pursuing inconvenience claims.

Oklahoma's Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a verdict of 465 million dollars and a verdict against J&J, a judge in California ruled this month in favor of four drug manufacturers in a case brought by several large counties.

Distributors are awaiting a decision in a similar case in West Virginia following a lawsuit. Closing arguments are expected on Monday in Ohio in the first trial pharmacies have faced over the epidemic.

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