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4 companies sign $ 26 billion agreement to curb opioid lawsuits

15 minutes. The 3 largest drug distributors in the United States (USA) and the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) accepted an agreement for which they will have to pay about 26,000 million dollars in compensation for their alleged role in the opioid crisis, as announced this Wednesday the authorities.

The historic agreement will put an end to the lawsuits brought by many states and cities of the country against the 4 Business in relation to the opioid crisis. In addition, it will offer significant funds to support the communities most affected by addiction and drug overdoses.

“Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen not only lit the fuse, but fueled the fire of opioid addictions for more than 2 decades. Today, we are holding these companies accountable and pumping tens of billions into of dollars in communities across the country, “New York State Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

States must speak

James and prosecutors from several states confirmed the pact, already advanced last Monday by some media. It has, for the moment, a tentative character, since now it is up to each state and locality to pronounce on it.

If a sufficient number of them support it, it will be effective and the signatories will begin to receive payments from the companies.

New York, which closed its part of the deal on its own Monday, will receive more than $ 1 billion. In exchange, it will withdraw the 3 distributors from a trial that is currently taking place on Long Island, the first with a jury in the United States due to the opioid crisis.

Johnson & Johnson, which was also among the defendants, had already escaped the trial after agreeing with the Prosecutor’s Office to pay 230 million dollars and leave this business.

The agreement announced Wednesday will resolve disputes involving almost 4,000 entities that sued J&J, McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen in federal and state courts over the opioid issue.

The 3 distributors commit to pay up to $ 21 billion over 18 years, while the pharmaceutical company will pay up to 5,000 million during the next 9 years.

Actions against other companies continue

The agreement covers only the 4 companies in question. A) Yes, the thousands of actions that are in progress against other companies will continue, including manufacturers and large pharmacy chains.

In recent years, several companies have already agreed to pay compensation for their responsibility in the crisis.

Currently, there are ongoing trials in New York and California. These include companies like Teva and Allergan. As for the large pharmacy chains, they are awaiting the initiation of proceedings against them in the coming months.

Other companies like Purdue Pharma, considered one of the biggest culprits in the opioid problem as the maker of the popular OxyContin product, filed for bankruptcy to deal with the huge amount of money being claimed from it.

Opioid overdose

According to the authorities, Between 1999 and 2019, nearly half a million people died in the United States from opioid overdoses.

In 2020, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses. This is a 30% increase over the previous year’s figure, which had already been a record.

Of those deaths, 69,710 were attributed to opioid overdoses.

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