Melville-based drug distributor reaches $1.25 million settlement in opioid case

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A Long Island drug distributor reached a $1.25 million settlement Monday. 

Melville-based Henry Schein has agreed to end a suit brought by Ohio prosecutors. At the same time, several of the nation's largest drug companies reached their own settlements over opioid-related lawsuits.

A team of attorneys in Cleveland claimed a small victory in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Three pharmaceutical companies agreed to settle with two counties in Ohio for $215 million immediately. Another company will pay $20 million.

Henry Schein also says it will make a $1 million donation to an educational foundation teaching the proper use and prescription of opioids, and $250,000 will go toward Summit County's expenses.

The case was supposed to be the first federal multi-district litigation involving the opioid crisis, but a deal was struck in the early hours of Monday dismissing the trial, awarding Summit and Cuyahoga counties in Ohio with big money.

One major potential plaintiff, Walgreens, was left off the case.

Plaintiff co-counsel Paul J. Hanly  says, "We realized the pharmacies should stand alone and that's why Walgreens is now being severed out."

Walgreens released a statement reads in part, "We never sold opioid medications to pain clinics, internet pharmacies or the 'pill mills' that fueled the national opioid crisis." The pharmacy may have to defend itself again in a different trial.

Monday's settlement is the first case of more than 2,700 plaintiff communities across the U.S. The settlement only ends suits brought by the two Ohio counties.

As part of the settlement, none of the companies admitted wrongdoing.

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