Source: Barron's

Former president Donald Trump was highly critical of opioid drug manufacturers. He wanted to shed more light on their role in the opioid crisis. The rise in prescription opioids has drawn the attention lawmakers across the country. Opioid prescriptions were 219 million in 2011; this was nearly triple the number reported 20 years earlier despite the fact the level of pain felt by Americans may not have increased proportionately. Others believe opioid manufacturers may have aggressively marketed these drugs to doctors without properly describing the risk.

Drug overdoses represent the largest cause of accidental deaths in the United States; they recently surpassed car accidents. Many believe the rise in drug overdoses has been driven by the use of prescription opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2016, the number of drug overdoses were 64,000, up 23% Y/Y and more than twice the 23,518 reported in 2002. In 2002, opioid prescription drug overdoses were 32% of total drug overdoses. That figure increased to 43% in 2015, and 59% in 2016. Opioid prescription overdoses continue to hit record highs even after the government’s concerted efforts to reduce them.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and big drug distributors like Cardinal Health (CAH) and McKesson (MCK) recently announced enough states had signed onto the deal in order to move forward. A few years ago a global opioid deal seemed improbable. Judge Dan Polster and other helped craft a novel settlement mechanism, which created a pathway to a global opioid deal. The $26 billion settlement could have major implications for some of the smaller opioid manufacturers. Read more:


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