Part of a $26 billion national opioid settlement agreement between Pennsylvania and three distributors Johnson & Johnson

A coalition of state attorneys general, including Pennsylvania, has reached a $26 million nationwide opioid settlement agreement to resolve thousands of pending lawsuits caused by the deadly epidemic in the United States. As part of the 10-year agreement, the transaction also requires major changes.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said on Wednesday that the state played a leading role in the settlement negotiations, which will provide states with direct funding to strengthen projects and provide relief to affected individuals and families.

“No amount of money, no amount of sanctions, can’t correct these mistakes,” Shapiro said. Coming to Pennsylvania will help provide and expand life-saving treatment options within our Commonwealth. “

The settlement agreement covers the three major drug distributors-Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen-as well as opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The agreement resolved more than 4,000 state and local government claims in federal and state courts in the United States.

The number of deaths from opioid overdose in the United States soared to a new record of 93,000 in 2020, an annual increase of 30%, and the popularity of the synthetic opioid drug fentanyl has accelerated this rate. In Pennsylvania, between 2017 and 2020, opioid overdose killed more than 16,800 people, including 5,172 deaths last year.

In Philadelphia, Opioid-related overdose Due to the rise of fentanyl, approximately 85% of fatal drug overdose in the city in 2020.

The states will have 30 days to sign the agreement, and local governments will have up to 150 days to join. The maximum amount will be paid to the places where the state and local governments have joined together to support the agreement.

Shapiro said: “As a whole, we know that two things are correct: The cost of this epidemic is huge-far more than the deal, and this agreement is currently providing the greatest amount to communities in need. The best way to help.”. “Today’s action sends a message to drug distributors and pharmaceutical companies that we will not accept this behavior and we will always fight for the people we serve.”

Pennsylvania will receive the largest comprehensive payment of approximately $1 billion to fully participate in local government participation.

The terms of the 10-year agreement are summarized below.

Funding overview

• The three distributors will jointly pay up to US$21 billion in fees over 18 years.

• Johnson & Johnson will pay up to 5 billion US dollars in nine years, and up to 3.7 billion US dollars in the first three years.

• The total funds allocated will depend on the overall level of involvement of litigation and non-litigation state and local governments.

• Most of the funds will be used for the treatment and prevention of opioids.

• The share of funds in each state is determined by an agreement between states, and the formula used takes into account the impact of the crisis on the state—including overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorders, the number of opioids delivered—and the The population of the state.

Overview of injunctive relief

The 10-year agreement will result in a court order requiring Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen:

• Establish a centralized independent clearing house to provide all three distributors and state regulatory agencies with aggregated data and analysis on the destination and frequency of medicines, eliminating blind spots in the systems currently used by distributors.

• Use a data-driven system to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies.

• Terminate the ability of customer pharmacies to receive goods and report to state regulators when these companies show certain signs of diversion.

• It is forbidden to transport and report suspicious opioid orders.

• Sales personnel are prohibited from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders.

• Require senior company officials to regularly supervise anti-transfer work.

The 10-year agreement will result in the court ordering Johnson & Johnson:

• Stop selling opioids.

• Funding or providing grants to third parties to promote opioids.

• Do not lobby for activities related to opioids.

• Sharing clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were among 15 states Reached a settlement with Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma This will reach at least US$4.5 billion.

Wednesday’s settlement is about whether the three distributors have fulfilled their legal obligations to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders, and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioids. The result of the investigation.

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