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The American Health Podcast is created by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, a project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Initiative works to tackle some of the most pressing challenges to public health in the United States: Addiction and Overdose, Environmental Challenges, Obesity and the Food System, Risks to Adolescent Health and Violence. Visit to learn more.

Oct 29, 2019

On October 21, 2019, three major drug distributors and a generic-drug manufacturer reached a $260 million settlement with two Ohio counties, to avoid the first federal opioid trial, which was set to begin later that day. That first trial was expected to serve as a bellwether for the thousands of other lawsuits, filed by cities, counties, hospitals, Native American tribes, and others against drug manufacturers, distributors, and retailers over their role in the opioid crisis – a crisis that has resulted in more than 47,000 deaths in 2017 alone. But what does this settlement mean for future opioid litigation, and what will be the overall impact of these thousands of lawsuits on the opioid crisis? Further, what public health lessons can be applied here from the litigation against tobacco companies in the 1990s?