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U.S. states seek $26.4 bln from drug firms in opioid litigation - WSJ

Aug 18 (Reuters) - U.S. states are seeking a combined $26.4 billion from three major drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson to settle opioid litigation against the companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

About a dozen attorneys general are seeking a collective $21.14 billion from the distributors, which include McKesson Corp, Amerisourcebergen and Cardinal Health , and $5.28 billion from J&J, the WSJ reported https://www.wsj.com/articles/states-seek-26-4-billion-from-drug-companies-in-opioid-litigation-11597743000?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=2.

The companies did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

The lawsuits accuse drugmakers of overstating the benefits of opioids while downplaying the risks and allege distributors failed to flag and halt a rising tide of suspicious orders.

A closely watched opioid trial pitting New York state against McKesson, Johnson & Johnson and others was postponed in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)