- Last-minute negotiations to forestall the trial by negotiating an overall settlement of about $50bn collapsed on Friday, in part due to divisions between local governments and several state attorneys general over whether the funds were sufficient to meet the cost of the crisis and who would control them.
A new study has found that the epidemic has cost the US more than $800bn in the last four years alone. The Society of Actuaries said the costs ranged from increased health and social care spending to loss of earnings by people who have died and pressure on the criminal justice system.
The collapse of the talks was welcomed by advocates who not only want a much larger settlement but also want to see the drug industry exposed at trial. Pharmaceutical companies are pressing for internal documents revealing their decisions and actions to remain secret as part of any settlement.