This transaction is the second largest cash settlement in the history of the United States, second only to the 1998 tobacco transaction of US$246 billion.
A group of U.S. state attorneys unveiled Landmark 26 billion USD settlement agreement Mainly with the U.S. Pharmaceutical company It is accused of contributing to the deadly national opioid epidemic, but some states remain calm about the agreement.
According to the settlement proposal announced on Wednesday, the three major U.S. drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen are expected to pay a total of 21 billion U.S. dollars, while drugmakers Johnson & Johnson Five billion US dollars will be paid.
“Frankly speaking, there is not enough money in the world to solve pain and suffering,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tang said, but he added that the money will “help where it is needed.”
This transaction is the second-largest cash settlement agreement in history, second only to the 1998 $246 billion tobacco agreement. It is also the largest legal effort announced in years to make the industry responsible for the opioid crisis. Caused more than 500,000 deaths in the United States in the past 20 years.
One of the 15 state attorneys generals involved in the transaction, New York State’s Attorney General Letitia James said: “Many companies that manufacture and distribute opioids across the country do not take life into consideration, even Did not take into account the national crisis they fueled.”.
James said in a statement: “Today, we are holding these companies accountable and injecting tens of billions of dollars into communities across the country.”
The distributor’s settlement payment will be paid within 18 years. Johnson & Johnson will pay within nine years, up to US$3.7 billion in the first three years. The money is expected to be used for drug rehabilitation, family support, education and other social projects.
“This settlement will directly support state and local efforts to make meaningful progress in resolving the opioid crisis,” said Michael Ullman, Johnson & Johnson’s general counsel.
Gabriel Elizondo of Al Jazeera said that settlement payments may be distributed to states and localities as early as the end of this year.
Elizondo reported that public health officials said that if used properly, these funds “may be a good start to curb the U.S. opioid epidemic.” “But again, it must be used correctly.”
Dealer accused Loose control This caused a large number of addictive painkillers to be diverted to illegal channels and disrupted the community, and Johnson & Johnson was accused of playing down the risk of addiction in its opioid marketing.
The companies denied these allegations.
The settlement agreement also requires the establishment of an independent clearing house to provide distributors and state regulators with aggregated data on drug shipments, which the negotiators hope will help prevent abuse.
Over 3,000 litigation The main issues related to the health crisis are state and local governments, which have been submitted throughout the United States. The negotiators have been trying to find a structure that can obtain sufficient local government support to assure the defendant that a transaction will end almost all litigation.
Therefore, the final settlement amount depends on each state signing an agreement and confirming the degree of participation of its cities and counties.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said: “It is expected that there will be 40 people to the north, and 40 people to the north will sign an agreement.”
The opioid crisis has Hit harder in some parts of the U.S. Compared with others, it creates disagreements between governments when considering reconciliation. The states will have 30 days to evaluate the agreement.
“The state that does not sign is irresponsible,” said Jeff Landry, the Louisiana Attorney General. “We don’t want perfection to be a good enemy.”
At the same time, the opioid crisis shows no signs of easing.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that provisional data show that 2020 will be A record year for overall drug overdose deaths 93,331 people died, an increase of 29% over the same period last year.