Wilmington mayor, city attorney take part in opioid lawsuit discussions in Ohio

Updated: Oct. 21, 2019 at 2:24 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and city attorney John Joye traveled to Cleveland, OH last week to take part in ongoing discussions related to a lawsuit filed by the city in 2017 against several drug companies accused of profiting off the opioid crisis in the region.

New Hanover County commissioner Woody White was also invited to take part in the discussions.

Wilmington joined more than 2,500 state and local governments, including New Hanover County, that filed lawsuits against several large U.S. drug companies.

The Associated Press reports that some of the companies reached a $260 million settlement with the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit ahead of the first federal trial that was set to start on Monday.

The agreement calls for distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson to pay a combined $215 million. Drugmaker Teva would contribute $20 million in cash and $20 million worth of suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

The agreement does not resolve the pending lawsuits brought forth by the other state and local governments, including the city of Wilmington.

"The opioid epidemic has already had a tremendous impact on our city, both in terms of lives lost and the time and resources spent to combat this epidemic. The city continues to actively assist in these nationwide talks about this hugely important issue,” said Mayor Bill Saffo.

Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.