opioids trial

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Jay LaPrete / AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says he’s trying to unify elected officials and lawyers from cities and counties involved in opioid related lawsuits, to come up with a broad agreement on how the billions of dollars that will likely come their way will be spent.

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.
Toby Talbot / AP

The nation's three dominant drug distributors and a big drugmaker have reached a $260 million deal to settle a lawsuit related to the opioid crisis just as the first federal trial over the crisis was due to begin Monday.

The settlement means the closely watched trial will not move forward now, but it does not resolve more than 2,600 other lawsuits across the country seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for an opioid crisis that has been linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000.

The nation's response to the deadly opioid epidemic has been broadly bipartisan, but deep divides have emerged over a settlement plan offered last month by Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin.

Democratic state attorneys general have generally panned the deal, which would force Purdue's owners, member of the Sackler family, to give up control of their company while paying roughly $3 billion in cash from their personal fortunes.