Allergan Plc and Endo International Plc have agreed to pay $15 billion to settle a major opioid case, which was slated to go to trial in October.
The case, filed by two Ohio counties, accuses several drug manufacturers and distributors of driving the opioid epidemic in the U.S.
News of the tentative deal comes ahead of the first trial out of 2,000 lawsuits pending in Cleveland federal court. Those cases were filed primarily by local governments looking to hold drug companies accountable for the opioid epidemic.
Endo has already announced that it has reached an agreement-in-principle to pay Summit and Cuyahoga counties $10 million and provide up to $1 million worth of two of its drug products for free.
Allergan has reportedly agreed to pay $5 million to resolve claims over its branded opioids, although the deal does not resolve claims that involve generic painkillers.
The tentative agreements were the first to result from the counties’ cases, which were chosen as the first bellwether trial in the litigation.
Matthew Maletta, Endo’s chief legal officer, said the settlement was a “favorable outcome,” although it does not admit any wrongdoing. Endo removed its opioid painkiller Opana ER from the market in 2017.
Both companies have denied wrongdoing and claim that they were in compliance with their legal obligations.
Other companies are still slated to face trial in October, including drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Purdue Pharma LP, and Johnson & Johnson.
Opioids were involved in 400,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are currently more than 2,000 lawsuits pending, filed by state and local governments, which accuse drug manufacturers of deceptive marketing practices that downplayed the risks of opioids. The lawsuits also accuse drug distributors of failing to detect and stop suspicious orders.