A group of United States attorneys general unveiled an agreement on Wednesday$ 26 billion history with major pharmaceutical companies for allegedly funding the opioid epidemic , but some states were cool on the deal.
Under the proposed settlement, America's three largest drug distributors, McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and AmerisourceBergen Corp, are expected to pay a combined $ 21 billion, while drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (J&J) , which manufactures opioids, would pay $ 5 billion.
"It doesn't 'There ' s not enough money in the world to deal with the pain and suffering, "Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said, adding that the money " will help where the money "will help. help is needed ".
The transaction was the second-largest cash settlement at $ 246 billion tobacco deal in 1998.
Attorneys General from 15 states were involved in negotiating the deal. Distributors' settlement money will be paid over 18 years. J&J will pay over nine years, with up to $ 3.7 billion paid in the first three years.
The money should be used for the drug treatment, family support, education and other social programs.
The distributors have been accused of lax controls which allowed the hijacking massive amounts of addictive pain relievers going through illegal channels, devastating communities, while J&J has been accused of downplaying the risk of addiction in its marketingof opioids.
The companies have denied the allegations.
The regulation also calls for the creation of an independent clearinghouse to provide the distr. Authorities and state regulators have aggregated data on drug shipments, which negotiators hope will help prevent abuse.
More than 3,000 lawsuits related to the health crisis, mainly by state and local governments, were tabled. Negotiators struggled to find a structure that garnered enough support from the local government to assure the defendants that an agreement will end almost all litigation.
Accordingly, the final settlement amount depends on the extent to which states sign the agreement and confirm that their cities and counties are on board.
"The wait is north of 40, and well north of 40, will sign"North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said.
The opioid crisis has claimed hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths in the United States since 1999 , but hit some areas much harder than others, creating States will have 30 days to assess the situation. 'okay.
"States that don't sign are irresponsible," Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said. "We don't want the perfection is the enemy of good. "
Approximately $ 2.1 billion will be deducted from the settlement for legal fees and legal fees.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has said he will not join the deal.
"Theregulation is, to be blunt, not good enough for Washington, ”he said.
This state's lawsuit against drug distributors begins on 7 September and a January lawsuit is scheduled against J&J.
To receive full payment, the deal needs the support of at least 48 states, 98 % of local governments in dispute and 97% of jurisdictions that have yet to prosecute.
Choosing to participate only guarantees a state part of money.
The settlement provides for a base payment of up to $ 12.12 billion if all states agree to the deal, and an additional 10.7 billion billion in incentive payments based on
"Everyone has a common interest in obtaining a maximum stake in order to obtain a maximum amount of fundsfor nationwide reduction, ”said Joe Rice, a senior lawyer for local governments.
Local governments have up to 120 days to join.
About half of the states have, in anticipation of the settlement, passed legislation or signed agreements with their localities governing how the settlement money will be distributed , according to Christine Minhee, who leads an opioid litigation monitoring project supported by a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations.
The legislation does not not guarantee success. In Indiana, cities and counties representing more than half of the state's population withdrew after a law limited their reduction to 15%.
Hard-hit West Virginia already had soGeneral that he would not participate in the settlement.
Local state governments are pursuing legal action against the distributors.
New Hampshire, which has been deeply affected by the outbreak, has also not decided to join the deal, said James Boffetti, assistant state attorney general.
Meanwhile, the seizure showed no signs of abating. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that provisional data showed 2020 to be a record year for all drug overdose deaths with 93,331, up 29% fr om a year earlier.
Although many deaths involve illicit heroin or fentanyl, not prescribed pain relievers, the most pPeople who have died have often turned to these narcotics after initially becoming dependent on preion opioids.
Meanwhile, Purdue Pharma, separately, will seek bankruptcy court approval in August for an agreement that the company, which manufactures the brand-name opioid pain reliever OxyContin, says is worth $ 10 billion, to settle state and local government claims.
Members of the multi-billionaire The Sackler family who own Purdue have agreed to contribute around 4, 3 $ bn in the plan.
The company and its owners are accused of having triggeredch the crisis , while denying wrongdoing.
In November 2020, Purdue pleaded guilty to three counts charge of violating a federal anti-kickback law, fraud in the United States and violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
L The plea deal included more than $ 8 billion in penalties that will go largely unpaid as the company is under bankruptcy protection.