UPDATED 2:35 PM PT – Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Top prosecutors across the nation have begun taking action against several big pharmaceutical companies for their alleged contributions to the opioid crisis. On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a more than $1 billion settlement with three of the nation’s largest drug distributors for distributing opioids “without regard to the national crisis they were helping to fuel.”
Payments from McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation are slated to start in several months. Last month, James reportedly said they had come to an agreement with Johnson and Johnson of $230 million. James added although an agreement has been reached, no amount of money could ever account for the lives lost and the lives impacted by opioid addiction.
Up to $1.25 billion will go to New York under settlements we previously announced with these companies.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) July 21, 2021
This initial agreement isn’t the last for the drug companies, as the four are working on finalizing a $26 billion settlement that would provide money to states, cities and counties across the country. Los Angeles’ city attorney Mike Feuer said an agreement on the major deal could come soon.
This comes as Los Angeles was one of the first cities and counties in the U.S. to file a lawsuit alleging the pharmaceutical industry was reportedly fueling the opioid crisis.
“We allege that the distributors regularly failed to report suspiciously large and frequent orders. We sued because no corporation, no matter how powerful, should be allowed to get away with putting profits over people’s lives,” said Feuer.
🚨BREAKING: City Attorney Mike Feuer announces
that parties are near a tentative $26-billion settlement in landmark opioid lawsuit. https://t.co/K4ZyaI0rA7
— The Office of Mike Feuer, L.A. City Attorney (@CityAttorneyLA) July 20, 2021
Feuer added he’s expecting tens of millions of dollars from the settlement, which would be used for “targeting the intersection between substance abuse disorder and homelessness.” The final approval for the $26 billion settlement would need to be agreed upon by more than 40 states, including hundreds of cities and counties.
If approved, the money would be used for prevention, treatment and recovery.