BATON ROUGE – Attorney General Jeff Landry today announced a historic $26 billion agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors and another company that manufactured and marketed opioids. It is expected to help bring much-needed relief to families throughout Louisiana struggling with opioid addiction.
“Today is a great day in our fight to hold accountable those who have stoked the fire of the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Landry, who helped lead state negotiations along with the attorneys general of North Carolina, Tennessee, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
The agreement resolves investigations and litigation with Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson over the companies’ roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic. The agreement also requires significant industry changes that will help prevent this type of crisis from happening again.
“Thousands of our neighbors have buried their loved ones throughout the opioid epidemic, and countless other families in Louisiana remain devastated by the crisis,” continued Attorney General Landry. “They deserve our State’s commitment to treating the addicted and protecting the public from this horrific plague; and I am proud to have delivered this great agreement to them.”
The agreement would resolve the claims of both states and local governments across the country, including the nearly 4,000 that have filed lawsuits in federal and state courts. Following today’s agreement, states have 30 days to sign onto the deal and local governments in the participating states will have up to 150 days to join to secure a critical mass of participating states and local governments. States and their local governments will receive maximum payments if each state and its local governments join together in support of the agreement.
Louisiana is anticipated to receive more than $325 million. “It is our objective that every nickel of this settlement goes to treating those in need – mitigating the damage done to our citizens,” concluded Attorney General Landry. “We will continue working with the legal representatives of the political subdivisions involved in this litigation to make this happen.”
- The three distributors collectively will pay up to $21 billion over 18 years.
- Johnson & Johnson will pay up to $5 billion over nine years with up to $3.7 billion paid during the first three years.
- The total funding distributed will be determined by the overall degree of participation by both litigating and non-litigating state and local governments.
- The substantial majority of the money is to be spent on opioid treatment and prevention.
- Each state’s share of the funding has been determined by agreement among the states using a formula that takes into account the population of the state and the impact of the crisis on the state – the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorder, and the number of opioids prescribed.
Injunctive Relief Overview:
- The 10-year agreement will result in court orders requiring Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen to:
- Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors.
- Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies.
- Terminate customer pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show certain signs of diversion.
- Prohibit shipping of and report suspicious opioid orders.
- Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders.
- Require senior corporate officials to engage in regular oversight of anti-diversion efforts.
- The 10-year agreement will result in court orders requiring Johnson & Johnson to:
- Stop selling opioids.
- Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids.
- Not lobby on activities related to opioids.
- Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.
This settlement comes as a result of investigations by state attorneys general into whether the three distributors fulfilled their legal duty to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.