Opioid litigation talks can ‘get a long way’ to deal: lawyer

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seen during a news conference hold by its CEO, Kare Schultz, to discuss the company’s 2019 outlooks in Tel Aviv, Israel February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Executives from several large healthcare companies and state attorneys general were progressing toward what is expected to be a multibillion dollar deal to resolve the sprawling litigation over the U.S. opioid epidemic, a plaintiffs’ lawyer said Friday.

“I think we can get a long way,” said Peter Weinberger, co-liaison counsel in the litigation, in response to a reporter asking if a deal was possible on Friday.

Weinberger said U.S. District Judge Dan Polster was shuttling between healthcare executives and state attorneys general and other plaintiffs’ lawyers who were huddled privately in separate rooms in the Cleveland federal courthouse.

Polster summoned executives from McKesson Corp (MCK.N), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Inc (TEVA.TA), Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N) and AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N) to his court to try to hammer out a deal before a landmark trial is scheduled to start Monday.

Polster is overseeing thousands of lawsuits stemming from the opioid addiction crisis that allege the companies fueled a healthcare crisis responsible for roughly 400,000 U.S. deaths from 1999 to 2017, according government statistics.

Writing by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Giles Elgood

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