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

When Johnson & Johnson, distributors and a smaller group of states announced their proposals settlement in july, the companies said they required a majority of unidentified plaintiffs to sign to secure an end to the litigation. Friday morning’s announcement signaled that the threshold had been reached, or at least 90 percent of governments were eligible to participate, and 46 of the 49 states were eligible for distributors and 45 for Johnson & Johnson. Courts in each state will now have to sign off on the agreements, a process that is expected to be relatively smooth and quick.

Under the agreements, a state would receive its entire allocation if all of its local governments signed on to the agreement. For example, all of North Carolina’s 100 counties and 47 cities have agreed, and the state will receive a $750 million allocation.

“Communities in North Carolina will start receiving money,” said Josh Stein, the state attorney general and leader of the bipartisan coalition of states that has been negotiating with companies and local governments for nearly three years. this year to help people who are struggling with substance abuse. “Treatment, rehabilitation, prevention and harm reduction services that will be made available statewide will help people regain control of their lives and make North Carolina safer.”

Several states and localities remain against distributors or Johnson & Johnson, including Washington, Oklahoma and Alabama. However, legal experts say that stance can be dangerous: The results of several completed trials point to solutions in favor of companies, suggesting that continuing to battle these The government’s rejection of the deal is a risk companies are willing to take.

This month, the same companies announced an interim solution to Native American tribes that have suffered disproportionately high rates of addiction and death during the opioid epidemic. Combined with the $75 million agreement distributors signed with the Cherokee Nation last fall, the 574 federally recognized tribes could receive $665 million in payments over nine years. . The majority of the tribes are expected to sign the proposal.

A key theme throughout the opioid litigation is the aggressive marketing of the drug, which has gone unchecked for years. Distributors almost never issue a warning when a pharmacy customer receives a delivery of opioids that are disproportionate to the local population. The central feature of the new agreement is that distributors must set up an independent payment facility to track and report each other’s shipments, a mechanism intended to raise immediate red flags when orders are placed. Large goods are made.

During the settlement negotiations, a series of secondary negotiations between the states and local governments about the allocation of funds also took place. To date, about two dozen states that have planned their own distribution with local cities and counties have also sued the companies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/health/opioids-settlement-distributors-johnson.html Companies finalize $26 billion settlements with states and cities to end opioid lawsuits

Fry Electronics Team

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