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Drug distributors face off towards West Virginia in billion-dollar opioid trial By Reuters 

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A full syringe, empty syringe and spoon sit on the roof of the automotive in Lynn

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) – The three largest U.S. drug distributors, who’re accused of serving to gasoline the opioid disaster that has resulted in almost 500,000 overdose deaths in the USA, will defend themselves in a trial that kicks off on Monday.

The trial towards AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:) Corp, McKesson Corp (NYSE:) and Cardinal Well being Inc (NYSE:) in Charleston, West Virginia, includes a lawsuit in search of greater than $1 billion introduced by town of Huntington and Cabell County.

They declare the businesses ignored pink flags that opioids have been being diverted to unlawful channels, flooding the state with a whole bunch of tens of millions of extremely addictive capsules.

The distributors have denied the claims, arguing they can’t be accountable for distributing capsules that have been prescribed by medical doctors.

Huntington and Cabell, together with different West Virginia cities and counties, opted out of a proposed $26 billion nationwide settlement with the three distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:).

A verdict within the trial may assist lay the groundwork for settlements within the sprawling nationwide litigation over the opioid disaster, which encompasses greater than 3,300 lawsuits by native governments across the nation towards opioid producers, distributors and pharmacies.

Opioids have resulted within the overdose deaths of almost 500,000 folks in the USA from 1999 to 2019, in keeping with U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. West Virginia is among the many hardest hit states, recording extra opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths per capita than another in 2018, in keeping with information from the Nationwide Institutes of Well being.

One other opioid trial is underway in a case introduced by California counties towards J&J and different drugmakers, and a trial in a case introduced by New York counties is scheduled to start subsequent month.

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