Three large U.S. drug distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson will proceed with a proposed $26 billion settlement resolving claims that they fueled the opioid epidemic after “enough” states joined in, the companies said on Saturday.
The companies had until Saturday to decide whether enough states back the $21 billion proposed settlement with McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Health Inc and a $5 billion agreement with J&J. The distributors said 42 states, five territories and Washington, D.C., signed on to their agreement.
Alabama, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Washington, West Virginia are not participating in the settlement, a person familiar with the matter said. New Hampshire agreed to settle only with the distributors, while Rhode Island joined only J&J’s deal, the person said. The companies will make their first annual settlement payment into escrow on or before Sept. 30, the distributors said. The final amount will depend on several factors, including the final participation rate of states and political subdivisions, they added.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a lead settlement negotiator, called the support level a “remarkable showing of unity and commitment across the country to address this problem.”