A group of state attorneys general unveiled on July 21 a landmark $26 billion settlement with large drug companies for allegedly fueling the deadly nationwide opioid epidemic, but the deal still requires support from thousands of local governments.

With a $26 billion nationwide settlement in sight over claims that the three largest U.S. drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson helped fuel a nationwide opioid epidemic, state and local governments will soon turn their attention to pharmacies and a handful of drugmakers.

The three largest U.S. drug distributors agreed mid-trial to pay up to $1.18 billion to settle claims by New York state and two of its biggest counties over their role in the nationwide opioid epidemic, the state’s attorney general said on July 20.

The three largest U.S. drug distributors, facing their first trial over claims that they fueled the opioid crisis, said responsibility for ballooning painkiller sales lies with doctors, drugmakers and regulators.

Four drugmakers, including Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., will go to trial on April 19 over claims they helped fuel an opioid crisis that has resulted in nearly 500,000 overdose deaths in the United States.

Three major U.S. drug distributors requested the government to expand the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain network as the country strives to immunize its population against the novel coronavirus as quickly as possible.

McKesson Corp. said the company and two other major U.S. drug distributors could be expected to pay up to $21 billion under a new proposal by state attorneys general to resolve lawsuits alleging they helped fuel the U.S. opioid crisis.

Johnson & Johnson will contribute up to $1 billion more to a potential settlement of lawsuits alleging the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based drugmaker and other companies fueled the U.S. opioid epidemic, bringing J&J’s total payment to $5 billion.

A federal appeals court overturned a judge’s approval of a novel plan by lawyers representing cities and counties suing drug companies over the U.S. opioid crisis that would bring every community nationally into their settlement talks.

Twenty one states rejected an $18 billion settlement proposal from three major U.S. drug distributors to resolve lawsuits over their alleged role in the opioid crisis, although settlement discussions continue, according to two sources familiar with the matter.