Saturday, April 1, 2023

Idaho announces $119 million opioid crisis settlement

BOISE, Idaho ( Associated Press) — Idaho officials on Friday announced a $119 million settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major distributors over their role in the opioid addiction crisis.

Republican Governor Brad Little and Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said it was the second largest consumer settlement in the state’s history, behind only the 1998 national tobacco settlement of $712 million.

An Ada County judge on Wednesday approved the settlement Little and Wadden agreed to in August. State involvement made it eligible for a minimum of $64 million. It also opened the way for local government entities to participate, and all those eligible did so by the end of December, raising the amount to $119 million.

The money will address the damage done by opioids, which the federal government declared a public health emergency in 2017. Johnson & Johnson and three distributors finalized a national $26 billion deal in February.

Little said in a statement, “Idaho has made significant progress in combating the opioid crisis in recent years, and the culmination of our legal action against opioid manufacturers — led by Attorney General Wadden and his team — is now providing additional resources.” does.” “Overall, our investments and activities will turn the tide on the opioid crisis.”

Wasden is continuing legal action against other opioid makers as well as the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma.

“This agreement removes some of those held responsible for the opioid crisis and provides significant funding for treatment, recovery and prevention in Idaho,” Wasden said. “These funds will be a huge asset to our state as it continues to recover from the opioid crisis.”

By signing the national agreement, government entities agree to drop their own lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.

As for Idaho, about $21 million will be paid out to Johnson & Johnson over nine years. About $98 million will be paid out over 18 years from drug distributors.

According to the agreement, 40% of the money will go to participating counties and cities, and 20% will go to regional public health districts.

The remaining 40% will go to the state-directed Opioid Settlement Fund, which was created last year by lawmakers and signed into law by Little. The Idaho legislature will appropriate money from the fund based on recommendations from the Idaho Behavioral Health Council, which is part of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

In addition to payments, increased accountability and monitoring for drug companies, changes to the way prescriptions are distributed and sold, independent monitoring, a national database of where abuse is occurring, delivery of opioids to pharmacies A national database is included to help prevent Prohibits Johnson & Johnson from selling or promoting opioids.

Alabama, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Washington and West Virginia did not accede to the agreement and sought their own deals or took legal action.

Washington would have received $418 million if it had joined the deal. Earlier this month state officials agreed a $518 million settlement with AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. The agreement still requires approval from a judge and dozens of Washington cities pursuing their own cases. Washington’s lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson is due for hearing in September.

West Virginia in April signed a $99 million deal with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. State Attorney General Patrick Morrissey said he believed West Virginia’s agreement with Johnson & Johnson’s Jensen was the largest per capita in the country.

Also last month, Alabama inked a $276 million deal with Johnson & Johnson, McKesson and Endo International.

Idaho’s share in 1998 was $712 million in the first 25 years of the $206 billion National Tobacco Agreement deal.


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