Cleveland (USA) (AFP)

Four giants in the pharmaceutical industry, accused of having fueled the opiate crisis that ravages the United States, found Monday an amicable agreement allowing them to avoid a federal trial that was to open in the United States. Ohio.

Lawyers from hundreds of local governments suing opioid pain clinics and laboratories confirmed Monday morning that an agreement was reached between Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Israel's Teva and two counties in Ohio, whose complaints were to be examined first in a test trial, on the other hand.

"Judge (Dan) Polster's efforts to resolve the federal opiate dispute have led to tentative agreements with our clients, Cuyahoga and Summit Counties," particularly affected by this crisis, which kills an estimated 130 people per day overdose in the US States, said the lawyers in a statement.

If the trial scheduled to begin on Monday morning will not take place, plaintiffs' lawyers stress that "this is not a global solution".

It remains to find a broader agreement to settle all complaints - some 2,700 with local authorities of all kinds including almost all US states - which could be in tens of billions of dollars, potentially the most important since the agreement reached with the big American tobacco companies in 1998.

According to sources quoted by US media, a broader agreement could be announced during the day.

The latest information showed a possible global deal worth some $ 50 billion, which would finally settle complaints against Johnson & Johnson and Teva laboratories, as well as against distributors AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Cardinal Health, responsible of the distribution of 90% of American drugs.

The Purdue laboratory, which manufactures the famous opiate OxyContin, has seen complaints against him suspended since it was placed in September under the protection of the bankruptcy law, proposing to pay between 10 and 12 billion dollars to settle complaints to against him.

These laboratories and distributors are accused of having, from the end of the 90s, aggressively promoted opioid painkillers even though they knew their addictive power.

They are also accused of ignoring the warning signs that showed their misuse, in order to take advantage of this lucrative market.

© 2019 AFP