Opioid proceedings on the verge of settlement with four companies

“This was a national crisis and could have been addressed by other government agencies and should have been addressed,” he said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “But this is really an example of the use of proceedings to solve a national problem.”

If approved, the settlement may be the largest of many opioid proceedings. It means billions of dollars for the lawyer who filed the proceedings, but is expected to bring more than $ 23 billion to mitigation and mitigation efforts to treat addicts along with other programs to deal with the crisis. It has been. Money comes in 18 years of payment and will be the largest amount in the next few years.

This deal is the same one that companies have been promoting for two years, sometimes in public.

Johnson & Johnson reiterated in a statement that it was ready to donate up to $ 5 billion to the country’s settlement.

“We are continuing to make progress towards the finalization of this agreement, and we continue to work to provide certainty to stakeholders and provide important support to families and communities in need,” the company said. I will. “The settlement does not acknowledge liability or misconduct and we will continue to defend against proceedings for which the final agreement remains unresolved.”

However, Cardinal Health declined to comment early Tuesday, and other distributors did not respond to requests for comment.

According to the Associated Press aggregate, at least $ 40 billion in settlements, fines and fines have been completed or proposed between the government and opioid tolls since 2007. Between the federal government and OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, most of the $ 8.3 billion is included. You will be exempt. Purdue is trying to reach a deal that could be worth $ 10 billion over time through the Bankruptcy Court. A hearing on the plan is scheduled for August.

Other transactions are also possible. More and more companies in the industry have closed deals, but some manufacturers have not closed — and pharmacy companies have not closed national reconciliations.

However, the total amount of the settlement is well below the estimated economic costs of the epidemic. The Actuarial Society has found that the cost of the crisis in the United States was $ 630 billion between 2015 and 2018, with most of the cost being borne by the private sector. And the White House Economic Advisers have set a yearly cost of about $ 500 billion nationwide, given the economic impact of fatally overdose.

Unlike the tobacco settlements that arrived in the 1990s, the government agreed to spend money brought in from opioid-related settlements to deal with the opioid crisis.

In a joint statement, the Attorney Generals of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee said the settlement negotiations with the four companies were “potentially nearing completion.” .. We want to bring the coveted dollar back to the state to help people recover from opioid addiction and radically change the opioid manufacturing and distribution industry to prevent this from happening again. I am looking forward to it. “

But they still have a choice as to how to do it.

“Is it a great mass of change?” Asked Ryan Hampton, who is recovering from opioid addiction and advocating policies to address the crisis of overdose based in Las Vegas. “Of course yes. Do you go where you need to go? The jury is still working on that.”

Even before the Settlement Plan was announced on Tuesday, a group of public health advocates and experts began demanding settlement money used to deal with the opioid crisis.

Joshua Sharfstein, Vice Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said: “It’s at the peak of an overdose epidemic, so it’s really important to use it well to save lives.”

A private lawyer on the plaintiff’s executive committee, which represents the local government in opioid proceedings nationwide, released details of the settlement on Tuesday, even before the settlement was completed. The decision to do this was partly due to New York’s settlement with three major power companies during a trial in Long Island’s state court on Tuesday.

A New York transaction worth more than $ 1 billion represents the share of the domestic transaction you receive from the distributor if the domestic transaction is closed. New York also signed a similar deal with Johnson & Johnson last month, worth $ 230 million.

“Today we hold them accountable and deliver more than $ 1 billion to the opioid-ravaged New York community for treatment, recovery and prevention efforts,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. Said in a statement on Tuesday.

The trial will continue, but the settlement leaves only three pharmaceutical companies as defendants.

Other manufacturers, regional distributors and pharmacies remain in New York and other cases for now. Closing arguments in the West Virginia trial against distributors will proceed as scheduled next week. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey there said the state would probably disagree with the terms.

“I will continue to fight to protect West Virginia and will not allow larger states to instruct defendants how to take responsibility for their actions,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

State and local governments say distributors did not have adequate control to flag or suspend shipments to pharmacies that received a large share of powerful and addictive prescription analgesics. I will. Both companies claim to be accepting orders for legal drugs by doctors, so the crisis of national addiction and overdose should not be blamed.

In 2012, enough prescription opioids were shipped for everyone in the United States to receive a 20-day supply, according to an analysis of federal distribution data by the Associated Press.

Also, opioids, which contain both prescription drugs and illicit drugs such as heroin and illegally manufactured fentanyl, have led to more than 500,000 deaths in the United States since 2000. The number of cases reached a record high in 2020.

Opioid proceedings on the verge of settlement with four companies

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