US states and four pharmaceutical companies reached a landmark settlement agreement of 26 billion US dollars to resolve thousands of opioid lawsuits, which will end years of legal disputes caused by the prescription painkiller crisis, which has been destroyed In communities across the country.
States including New York and Pennsylvania announced on Wednesday that they have reached agreements with the country’s three major drug distributors-Maxson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen-and Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest healthcare company.
This Opioids flooding Over the past 20 years, more than 500,000 lives have been taken across the United States and families have been torn apart. Faced with more and more bills to deal with the consequences, government officials filed thousands of lawsuits, claiming that various pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors contributed to the crisis.
“These companies continue to profit from suffering, death and destruction across the country, and today we ended it,” said New York Attorney General Leticia James. She added that these companies “benefit without considering human lives and the national crisis they cause.”
The states stated that Wednesday’s opioid settlement agreement was the second largest agreement in U.S. history after the 1998 agreement with tobacco companies.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said: “This epidemic is caused by a large group of pharmaceutical executives and drug distributors who have decided to pursue their own health, safety and well-being. Bottom line.”
He added that the settlement agreement “implemented control measures, which will greatly help to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Nearly 24 billion U.S. dollars will be used to reduce the harm of opioid addiction, while the rest will be used to pay for state legal and other expenses.
Each state has 30 days to decide whether to sign a settlement agreement, after which the company can decide whether it has agreed to a sufficient number of people to start payment.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said: “The agreement does not specify a certain number of states or towns.” He added that he expects more than 40 states to agree to the agreement.
In the next 18 years, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health will each pay 6.4 billion U.S. dollars, while McKesson will pay 7.9 billion U.S. dollars, and Johnson & Johnson will pay 5 billion U.S. dollars.
“We recognize that the opioid crisis is an extremely complex public health issue, and we have deep sympathy for everyone affected,” said Michael Ullman, Johnson & Johnson’s general counsel. “This settlement agreement will directly support state and local efforts to make meaningful progress in resolving the U.S. opioid crisis.”
Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, a tablet synonymous with the opioid crisis, did not participate in Wednesday’s settlement.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection amid proliferation of litigation in 2019 and is trying to pass Separate process.