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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

States Get On Board With $50B Settlement Talks With Drug Distributors, But Cities, Counties More Hesitant, Sources Say

KHN Morning Briefing

AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation, along with Johnson & Johnson and Teva, are in talks to settle before the massive nationwide opioid case goes to court on Monday. Cities and counties want more information about how the money will be distributed and whether it will be directed to relief measures or end up in general funds for state legislatures.

Opioid Drug Distributors In Talks With State AGs Over Potential $18B Settlement As Massive Nationwide Trial Nears

KHN Morning Briefing

McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health would collectively pay $18 billion over 18 years. Johnson & Johnson is also involved in the deal negotiations and could contribute additional money. The distributors are among the companies slated to go to trial Monday in federal court in Cleveland in the cases of two Ohio counties that have been chosen to serve as a bellwether for the broader litigation.

‘This Is Truly A Nightmare Situation’: Where There’s No Substitute, Drug Shortages Cripple Life-Saving Care

KHN Morning Briefing

A shortage of a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer in children highlights the serious perils of the rampant shortage problem facing the industry. “It’s our bread and butter,” said Dr. Yoram Unguru, a pediatric oncologist. “There is no substitution … You either have to skip a dose or give a lower dose — or beg, borrow or plead.” While the FDA has been trying to address the issue of shortages it’s fallen short in its efforts to grant addition approval of generics. Meanwhile, companies are trying other methods to combat the problem.

How A Small-City West Virginia Lawyer Became One Of The Attorneys Leading National Opioids Lawsuit

KHN Morning Briefing

Lawyer Paul Farrell Jr. helped mastermind the use of the “public nuisance” code that lies at the heart of the consolidated cases against the drug companies and distributors. “They broke it. So they need to fix it,” Farrell said. “I want them to stop killing people. I want mothers to stop giving birth to babies addicted to opium. … I want to stop going to funerals.” Meanwhile a new poll finds that nearly half of Americans have someone in their family affected by substance abuse.

Head Of PhRMA Says It Would Be Mistake To Think Pelosi’s Aggressive Drug Pricing Bill Won’t Become Reality

KHN Morning Briefing

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO Steve Ubl is treating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill like a threat despite doubts that it could make it through the GOP-controlled Senate. “We would like to see a balanced package emerge from the legislative process this year and we’re working both sides of the aisle towards that end,” Ubl said.

Coming To ‘Sesame Street’: A Muppet Whose Mother Is Struggling With Addiction

KHN Morning Briefing

“There are 5.7 million children under the age of 11 who live in a house with a parent who has a substance abuse disorder,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop. “For children, we particularly want them to know what parental addiction is, but also provide a sense of hope and help them feel they’re not alone.” Other news on the opioid crisis focuses on lawsuits against the drug companies, closing treatment centers, and more.

Arizona Signals Misgivings With Purdue Pharma Settlement In Possible Sign Of Troubled Waters Ahead

KHN Morning Briefing

Arizona was one of 24 states and and hundreds of local governments that agreed to settle with the maker of OxyContin. But now the state might be switching sides. “Purdue [Pharma] and the Sackler family need to take responsibility for their role in the opioid crisis,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a statement. In other news on the national drug epidemic: a voice for the babies affected by the opioid crisis; overdoses at homeless shelters; medication-assisted treatment; and more.