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McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Corp. have proposed paying $10 billion to settle claims they helped to fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic – the first sign of progress in resolving state lawsuits against the drug distributors, according to people familiar with negotiations.

The companies, which deliver the majority of prescription medications to U.S. pharmacies, made the verbal proposal as part of talks with a group of state attorneys general, said three people familiar with the offer who asked that their names not be used because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

It’s the first time in two years of discussions that the three distributors put a dollar figure on the table to resolve lawsuits against them, the people said. The National Association of Attorneys General – handling talks on behalf of more than 35 states – countered with a demand for $45 billion to cover costs from the public-health crisis of opioid addiction and overdoses, the people said. Any settlement would be paid out over decades, they said.

Whether the distributors and attorneys general can agree to a deal remains uncertain. But reaching a compromise may not be the toughest hurdle. The distributors face almost 2,000 additional lawsuits brought by cities and counties across the United States, with a separate group of lawyers leading the litigation. Getting them to sign on to any deal could prove challenging.

Defendants in the opioid litigation have been unwilling to settle the claims against them in a piecemeal fashion. Also on Tuesday, the judge overseeing the federal multidistrict litigation, Dan A. Polster, heard arguments over a proposal to create a structure would allow defendants to negotiate with a single committee on behalf of all cities and counties in the entire country.

State attorneys general have vociferously opposed the plan. Polster seemed supportive of the proposal during the hearing, but said he would take the arguments under advisement.

Meanwhile, the first opioid trial, which severs as a test case, concluded in mid July. The trial took place over seven weeks in the college town of Norman Oklahoma. Instead of a jury, a state judge heard the case.. There has not yet been a decision by the Judge.

Initially, the Oklahoma lawsuit included Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. In March, Purdue Pharma settled with the state for $270 million. Just two days before the trial began, another defendant, Teva Pharmaceuticals, announced an $85 million settlement with the state.

In the closing argument, the Oklahoma attorney general asked the court to award $17.5 billion. If he is successful, the current global demand of $10 billion for all state cases will seem like a bargain.