Cardinal Health warns ongoing opioid-related lawsuits to hit business


Signage is displayed outside of the Cardinal Health Inc. headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.

Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Drug distributor Cardinal Health warned on Tuesday that its business could be hurt as it defends itself against several opioid-related lawsuits.

Several pharmaceutical wholesale distributors, including Cardinal, have been named as defendants in about 2,500 lawsuits for the distribution of prescription opioid pain medications. These lawsuits have been filed in various federal, state, and other courts by a variety of plaintiffs.

Cardinal said in a filing it expects to be named as a defendant in additional lawsuits.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors have been in part blamed for the U.S. opioid crisis, accused of deceptively marketing opioids in ways that downplayed their risks.

AmerisourceBergen and McKesson are also facing similar lawsuits.

Cardinal said it was vigorously defending itself in all opioid-related matters, but is unable to predict their outcome or estimate a range of reasonably possible losses. 

Cardinal said that ongoing negative publicity could hurt the its reputation or results of operations.

Opioids were involved in 400,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Tuesday, drugmakers Endo International and Allergan agreed to pay $15 million to avoid going to trial in October in a landmark opioid-related case by two Ohio counties.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported that McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen had proposed paying a $10 billion settlement for claims that they played a part in the U.S. opioid epidemic.

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