Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Wednesday unveiled a historic $26 billion multistate agreement with the nation’s three largest drug distribution companies and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, designed to address the nationwide opioid addiction and overdose crisis. I went.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Weiser said during a virtual news conference on Wednesday afternoon. “We need to make the most of it.”
The attorney general said the agreement between more than 40 states, thousands of municipalities and Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Johnson & Johnson would bring $300 million to Colorado.
Combined with a previous agreement with Purdue Pharma, Weiser raised a total of $400 million in funding to address the “American tragedy.”
“It hasn’t happened in other countries,” the attorney general said. “And it has its roots in the boardroom.”
Under the deal, Johnson & Johnson will not produce any opioids for at least a decade, and will halt opioid-related lobbying activities. And AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson will have to share prescribing information under a new system aimed at stopping the avalanche of bullets that hit some areas nearly a decade ago.
Colorado’s funding from the settlement — which is still dependent on a critical mass of local municipalities signing up — will be distributed through a bottom-up approach, Weiser said.
“Each region has to decide what mix of priorities matters to them,” he said.
The money could reach Colorado communities next year, with annual payments from drug companies occurring over the age of 18. This money will have to be spent on addiction and treatment related programs.
As it stands now, Colorado can only meet 30% of its drug treatment needs, Weiser said, noting an urgent need for addiction services in every corner of the state.
“Many people are suffering,” he said. “We are in a potentially transformative moment.”
In the last 20 years, Over 7,600 Coloradans State statistics show that deaths from accidental opioid overdoses occurred.
Johnson & Johnson said it would contribute up to $5 billion to the national settlement, while other companies would add $21 billion.
While many states celebrated the agreement, not all planned to accede to the deal.
“The settlement, to be blunt, is not nearly enough for Washington,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “It spreads the insufficient funds in small payments over nearly 20 years to be shared among more than 300 Washington jurisdictions.”
An Associated Press tally found that there have been at least $40 billion in full or proposed settlements, penalties and fines between governments and makers of opioids since 2007, including one between the federal government and OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma. No, in which most of the $8.3 billion will be forgiven. Purdue is trying to reach a deal through bankruptcy court that could be worth $10 billion over time; A hearing on that plan is scheduled for August.
Other deals are possible. While a growing number of companies in the industry have struck deals, some manufacturers haven’t — and no pharmacy companies have struck nationwide settlements.
But the total amount in settlements is well below estimates of the financial cost of the pandemic. The Society of Actuaries found that The crisis cost the US $630 billion From 2015 to 2018, with most of the costs borne by the private sector. and the White House Council of Economic Advisors, when considering the economic impact of those who fatally overdose, a year cost of about $500 billion nationally.
unlike unlike tobacco settlements In the 1990s, governments have agreed to spend money brought in from opioid-related settlements to tackle the opioid crisis.
One Associated Press analysis Federal distribution data found that in 2012 enough prescription opioids were shipped for each person in the US for a 20-day supply.
And opioids — which include both prescription drugs and heroin and illegally produced fentanyl — have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the US since 2000. The number of cases has reached one. 93,000. record height of in 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.