Pennsylvania’s attorney general has joined with three peers to set up a $48 billion opioid epidemic settlement with five companies.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the deal with companies Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva was related to their “roles in fueling the opioid epidemic.”
The agreement was brokered with attorneys general Josh Stein of North Carolina, Herbert Slatery of Tennessee, and Ken Paxton of Texas.
According to Shapiro’s office, the agreement includes $22.25 billion in cash and $26 billion in medication-assisted treatment drug product, product distribution, and data-tracking measures. The three major opioid distributors have also agreed to change their policies to prevent over-distribution going forward. McKesson, Cardinal, and AmerisourceBergen pledged to train drivers to identify and report potential pill mills, while Johnson & Johnson and Teva, two manufacturers of opioids, have agreed to abstain from marketing their opioid products.
A formula is still being finalized, but the attorneys general plan to allocate a portion of $22.25 billion in cash to state and local governments for their burden of the opioid crisis.
“Today’s agreement holds three of those distributors and two manufacturers accountable for their roles in perpetuating this epidemic. I’m proud of the hard work of my Attorney General colleagues and grateful to these companies for coming to the table to agree to a deal that provides significant funds to cities, counties, and states to expand treatment for those who are suffering from substance use disorder and mandates concrete changes to prevent further harm,” Shapiro said.
The agreement follows an investigation led by Shapiro and joined by 40 other state attorneys general into the opioid epidemic.
“The investigation into the three distributors sought information related to whether or not the companies fulfilled their legal duty to raise red flags about pharmacies’ suspicious drug orders. The investigation into the manufacturers centered on the possibility that patients and doctors were misled about the addictive nature of opioid drugs,” Shapiro’s office said.
“The opioid, heroin and fentanyl epidemic claims the lives of 12 Pennsylvanians per day, and this public health and public safety crisis was engineered by opioid manufacturers and distributors,” said Shapiro stated.