Tuesday, January 18, 2022

In a landmark $26 billion US opioid settlement, Johnson & Johnson to pay $5 billion

On Wednesday, a group of U.S. state attorneys announced a landmark $26 billion settlement agreement with a large pharmaceutical company, which is suspected of contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic across the country, but some states are indifferent to the deal.

According to the proposed settlement agreement, the three major US drug distributors McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc, and AmerisourceBergen Corp are expected to pay a total of 21 billion U.S. dollars, while the opioid pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will pay 5 billion.

This settlement is the second-largest cash settlement in history, second only to the 1998 tobacco settlement of US$246 billion. Attorneys general from 15 states participated in the negotiations. The dealer’s money will be paid within 18 years. Johnson & Johnson will pay within nine years, with up to US$3.7 billion in the first three years. The money is expected to be used for drug rehabilitation, family support, education, and other social projects.

Distributors are accused of lax control, causing a large number of addictive painkillers to be diverted to illegal channels and disrupting communities, while Johnson & Johnson is accused of minimizing the risk of addiction in its opioid marketing. The companies denied these allegations. Establish an independent clearinghouse to provide distributors and national regulators with aggregated data on drug shipments, which negotiators hope will help prevent abuse.

More than 3,000 lawsuits related to health crises have been filed, most of which have been filed by state and local governments. The negotiators have been trying to find a structure that can obtain sufficient support from the local government to assure the defendants that a settlement will end almost all litigation. Therefore, the amount of the final settlement depends on the degree of agreement among the states. Sign the agreement and confirm that your city and county are on board.

Since 1999, the opioid crisis has caused hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths in the United States, but its impact on some regions far exceeds others. When considering this 30-year-old deal, the state government There was a disagreement between them. transaction.

Approximately US$2.1 billion will be deducted from the settlement of legal fees and legal fees. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he will not join the deal.

The state’s lawsuit against drug distributors began on September 7, and a lawsuit was filed against Johnson & Johnson in January. To receive full payment, a settlement requires at least 48 states, 98% of governments, and 97% of governments to support selective jurisdictions that can only guarantee that the state receives partial funding. If all states agree to the agreement, the settlement agreement will provide up to US$12.12 billion in basic payments and an additional US$10.7 billion in incentives based on various factors related to local participation.

Local governments have up to 120 days to join. According to Christine Minhee, who runs the opioid litigation regulator, before the deal, about half of the states passed laws or signed agreements with local governments to manage the distribution of settlement funds. The project is supported by the Soros Judicial Grant from the Open Society Foundation.

The legislation does not guarantee success. In Indiana, cities, and counties that represent more than half of the state’s population opted out after a law limited their cuts to 15%. The hardest-hit area in West Virginia has indicated that it will not participate in the agreement. A case against a dealer is under trial.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that interim data showed that the total number of drug overdose deaths in 2020 reached a record year, reaching 93,331, an increase of 29% over last year. Although many deaths involve illegal, over-the-counter heroin or fentanyl. Analgesics, most of the dead often turn to those anesthetics after initially relying on prescription opioids.


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