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$800M opioid settlement to start paying out in 2022

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined local leaders to announce the next steps of Michigan’s anticipated receipt of $800 million opioid settlements over the next 18 years.

The settlement includes the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

“I took legal action once I took office to try to recoup money for the devastating impact that the opioid epidemic has had on the communities across our state,” Nessel said in a statement. “I am pleased to see our work pay off with this historic settlement that will bring Michigan communities millions of dollars to support abatement efforts. I know that no amount of money will make whole the thousands of Michigan families impacted by opioids, but this is an important victory in a hard-fought battle.”

Local municipalities will continue to receive information about the settlements as the process unfolds. Defendants will start releasing funds on April 2, 2022, and will be sent to local governments in the second or third quarter of 2022.

This national agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 state and local governments’ claims across the country. It is the second-largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

In 2019, opioid overdoses killed 1,768 Michiganders.

The settlement requires the three distributors collectively pay up to $21 billion over 18 years. It requires Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen to:

  • Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics tracking drugs distribution and frequency.
  • Use data-driven systems to detect 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.

It requires Johnson & Johnson to

  • Stop selling opioids.
  • Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids.
  • Not lobby on opioid-related activities.
  • Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard welcomed the settlement.

“The opioid addiction has reached far and deep into American society,” Bouchard said in a statement. “I am pleased that Michigan has a settlement from the manufacturers that hopefully will allow us to support and connect those suffering from addiction to a path forward.”

Nessel announced the tentative $800 million settlement in July 2021, which will be spent to reduce harm to those addicted to opioids.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said they will improve access to harm reduction services, treatment and other resources.

“Between 2019 and 2021, Ingham County saw a 31.5% increase in opioid-related deaths,” Vail said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic further spotlighted systemic inequities and gaps in care, including disproportionate access to services or treatment for those with increased vulnerability.”

This article was originally posted on $800M opioid settlement to start paying out in 2022

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