Attorney General Slatery Reaches $ 26 Billion Deal with Opioid Distributors / Manufacturers


Nashville – Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today announced a landmark $ 26 billion deal that will bring desperately needed relief to people across the country struggling with opioid addiction. The deal is between state and local governments and Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen – the country’s three largest pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids. The deal would resolve inquiries and disputes over corporate roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic. The deal also requires significant changes in the industry that will help prevent this type of crisis from happening again. State negotiations were led by Attorneys General Josh Stein (NC), Herbert Slatery (TN) and Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts , New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“We have come to an agreement in the most complicated civil case in American history,” General Slatery said. “Yes, it took several years. It took a lot of concessions from everyone involved, but now we have one. The negotiating states were both red and blue; it was a bipartisan effort from start to finish. We have acted on behalf and under the direction of a host of other states. Our goal was to solve a national problem that affected virtually everyone in one way or another. We want all states and local governments to join. That way, we can hold these companies accountable (as they should be), get immediate funding for programs that will reduce the crisis and save lives, and do it now, as opposed to years of litigation and resulting costs. “

The deal would provide a means to resolve claims from states and local governments across the county, including the nearly 4,000 who have filed lawsuits in federal and state courts. Following today’s agreement, states have 30 days to join the agreement and local governments in participating states will have up to 150 days to join. Ratification of the agreement depends on the participation of a critical mass of states and local governments. States and their local governments will receive maximum payments if each state and its local governments join the agreement.

Tennessee will sign the agreement and reach out to encourage participation.

In anticipation of this agreement, new legislation recently passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Bill Lee provides for the creation of a state-wide administration system for clean-up funding. The legislation is the result of months of coordination between the bill’s sponsors, stakeholders, and the Tennessee attorney general’s office.

Funding overview:

  • The three distributors will collectively pay up to $ 21 billion over 18 years.
  • Johnson & Johnson will pay up to $ 5 billion over nine years and up to $ 3.7 billion over the first three years.
  • The total funding distributed will be determined by the overall degree of involvement of state and local governments, both litigation and non-litigation.
  • More than two-thirds of the money must be spent on opioid treatment and prevention.
  • Each state’s share of funding was determined by agreement between states using a formula that takes into account the impact of the crisis on the state – the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with drug-related disorders. substance use and opioid volume. prescribed – as well as the population of the state.

Overview of injunction measures:

The deal will result in court orders requiring Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen:

  • Establish an independent, centralized clearinghouse to provide the three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analysis on drug destination and frequency, thereby eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors.
  • Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from client pharmacies.
  • Terminate the ability of customer pharmacies to receive shipments and report these companies to state regulatory authorities when they show signs of drug diversion.
  • Prohibit shipping and report orders for suspicious opioids.
  • Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions about identifying suspicious opioid orders.
  • Require senior company officials to engage in regular monitoring of anti-hijacking efforts.

The deal will result in court orders requiring Johnson & Johnson to:

  • Stop selling opioids for 10 years.
  • Do not fund or provide grants to third parties for the promotion of opioids.
  • Don’t pressure opioid-related activities.
  • Share clinical trial data as part of the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

This settlement results from investigations by state attorneys general into whether the three distributors fulfilled their legal obligation to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted orders for suspicious drugs and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors in error about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.

Unfortunately, last year in the United States, an opioid overdose deaths reached a record 93,000, an increase of almost 30% over the previous year. In Tennessee, opioid overdoses kill an average of more than five people a day, and the cost to families and communities is immeasurable.

A previous version of this tentative agreement was announced in 2019 and included opioid maker Teva. Negotiations with Teva are ongoing and no longer form part of this agreement.


# 21-25: Attorney General Slatery Reaches $ 26 Billion Deal With Opioid Distributors / Manufacturers

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