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Distributors to pay $ 1.1 billion to New York for opioid crisis

15 minutes. The three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the United States will pay up to $ 1.1 billion to New York state for its alleged role in the opioid crisis, according to a deal announced Tuesday.

McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen agreed with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which had taken them to trial for allegedly fueling the country’s opioid epidemic.

The agreement became official on the same day that several US media reported that the three companies, along with the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, have a tentative pact to pay US $ 26,000 million to close numerous lawsuits opened in cities and states of the country .

In the case of New York, with this pact the three companies will be withdrawn from an ongoing process in Suffolk County, in the Long Island region, the first jury trial that takes place in the United States for the crisis of opioids. This, unlike others, involves the entire production and supply chain and not just pharmaceutical companies.

Johnson & Johnson He has already escaped the trial after agreeing with the Prosecutor’s Office to pay US $ 230 million and get out of the opioid business.

Meanwhile, the process will continue against the three remaining defendants: Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Allergan Finance.

Opioid “epidemic”

“For more than two decades, the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc in countless New York communities and the rest of the nation. It killed hundreds of thousands of friends and family and created addiction in millions of people, “recalled New York Attorney General Letitia James.

James argued that McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen distributed these opioids without regard to the national crisis they were helping fuel. For this reason, today they are made “responsible”.

The money raised from the companies will go to communities affected by opioids for treatment, recovery and prevention, he said.

“While no amount of money will ever make up for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, or the countless communities decimated by opioids, this money will be vital to prevent any devastation in the future”, Stressed the prosecutor.

Payments by the companies will begin within two months and will last for 17 years.

According to the authorities, most of the 1.1 billion is guaranteed as a base payment, while a portion depends on what happens with current and future litigation.

Complaints to companies

In recent years, the main opioid-producing companies in the US have faced a multitude of complaints. These led to several multi-million dollar compensation cases.

According to the country’s authorities, between 1999 and 2019 nearly half a million people died in the country from opioid overdoses.

In 2020, according to data from the US National Center for Health Statistics, more than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses, an increase of 30% over the previous year, which was already a record.

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

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