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Distributors approve opioid settlement agreement

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NEW YORK — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson announced Friday that each company has independently determined that there is sufficient participation by states and litigating political subdivisions to proceed with a comprehensive agreement to settle the vast majority of the opioid lawsuits filed by state and local governmental entities.

The companies have previously disclosed that 46 of 49 eligible states, as well as the District of Columbia and all eligible territories, have agreed to join the settlement. As of Feb. 25, 2022, more than 90 percent of eligible political subdivisions that have brought opioid-related suits against the companies, as calculated by population under the agreement, have agreed to participate in the settlement or have had their claims addressed by state legislation.

The settlement will provide thousands of communities across the United States with up to approximately $19.5 billion over 18 years. The three distributors will also implement injunctive relief terms, including establishing a clearinghouse that consolidates data from all three distributors. This data will be available to all settling states and territories to use as part of their anti-diversion efforts.

While the companies continue to strongly dispute the allegations made against them, they believe that the implementation of this settlement is a key milestone toward achieving broad resolution of governmental opioid claims and delivering meaningful relief to communities across the United States that have been impacted by the opioid epidemic.

The companies would be responsible for up to approximately the following contributions, payable over 18 years:

  • AmerisourceBergen: $6.1 billion
  • Cardinal Health: $6.0 billion
  • McKesson: $7.4 billion

The effective date of the agreement is April 2, 2022. The final step before the effective date is for the participating states and territories, together with the distributors, to seek court-ordered consent judgments embodying the terms of the settlement. The distributors’ first annual payment, which is currently in escrow, will be released to the participating states on the effective date or as soon thereafter as all conditions under the settlement have been met.

This settlement only addresses the claims of U.S. state and territorial attorneys general and political subdivisions in participating states and territories. The states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Washington chose not to participate in the settlement. The state of West Virginia previously settled with the companies, and its subdivisions are not part of this settlement. The companies previously settled with the Cherokee Nation and have reached a separate agreement in principle to settle the claims of the remaining federally recognized Native American Tribes.


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