Big pharmaceutical companies reportedly plan to recoup portions of opioid crisis settlement payouts via tax deductions this year. Thousands of lawsuits from individuals and governments have challenged opioid manufacturers and distributors for their roles in the deaths of an estimated 70,000 people from addiction each year. Four of those pharmaceutical companies — manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource-Bergen — are in talks to pay a combined $26 billion to settle many of those cases. But as their financial records reportedly indicate, they're planning to claim tax deductions from those payouts this year and bring back around $1 billion each. Tax laws usually prevent companies from deducting legal costs, and the IRS may also end up challenging the companies' deductions. But the deductions may work through the $2 trillion CARES Act, which opened up billions of dollars in tax breaks to companies regardless of pandemic suffering.

Scroll for 5 things you
need to know now