Companies finalize $26 billion deal with states and cities to end opioid lawsuits

When Johnson & Johnson, distributors and a small group of states announced their proposal payment in July , the companies said they r...


When Johnson & Johnson, distributors and a small group of states announced their proposal payment in July, the companies said they require an indeterminate majority of plaintiffs to sign, to ensure the end of litigation. Friday morning’s announcement signals that a sufficient threshold has been met, with at least 90% of those governments eligible to participate, and 46 of the 49 states eligible for distributors and 45 for Johnson & Johnson. Courts in each state will now have to sign the agreements, a process that should be relatively easy and quick.

According to the agreements, a state will get its full allocation if all of its local governments sign the agreement. For example, North Carolina’s 100 counties and 47 municipalities have agreed, and the state will receive its $750 million allocation.

“Communities in North Carolina will begin receiving money this year to help people struggling with addiction,” said Josh Stein, state attorney general and leader of a bipartisan coalition of states that has negotiated with businesses and local governments for almost three years. “The treatment, recovery, prevention and harm reduction services that will be available statewide will help people regain control of their lives and make North Carolina safer.”

A few recalcitrant states and localities still remain against distributors or Johnson & Johnson, including Washington, Oklahoma, and Alabama. But legal experts say that stance could be perilous: Results from a few completed trials point to favorable resolutions for the companies, suggesting that continuing to fight with governments that have refused the deal is a risk the companies are willing to take. take.

This month, the same companies announced a tentative settlement with Native American tribes that suffered disproportionately high addiction and death rates during the opioid epidemic. Combined with a $75 million deal distributors reached with the Cherokee Nation last fall, the 574 federally recognized tribes could receive $665 million in payments over nine years. An overwhelming majority of tribes are expected to sign on to the proposal.

A major theme running throughout the opioid litigation has been aggressive drug marketing, which has gone virtually unchecked for years. Distributors almost never sent flares when pharmacy customers received shipments of vastly disproportionate amounts of opioids compared to the local population. A central feature of the new deal is that distributors must set up an independent clearinghouse to track and report each other’s shipments, a mechanism intended to trigger red flags immediately when outsize orders are placed.

During the settlement negotiations, a secondary round of talks between states and local governments about the allocation of funds was also taking place. To date, about two dozen states have developed their own distribution plans with local cities and counties that have also sued the companies.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Companies finalize $26 billion deal with states and cities to end opioid lawsuits
Companies finalize $26 billion deal with states and cities to end opioid lawsuits
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