Drug Distributors and Johnson & Johnson Commit to $26 Billion Opioid Agreement
(BOISE) – Governor Brad Little and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today the final court approval of the $26 billion opioid agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – and Johnson & Johnson. Idaho will receive $119 million. It’s the second largest consumer settlement in state history behind the 1998 national tobacco settlement.
A judge in Ada County approved the settlement Wednesday. In Idaho, all 44 counties, 24 municipalities and Idaho’s seven health districts have signed on the agreement. Based on the full participation of eligible Idaho entities, the state will receive the full share of the money available to it. Idaho could receive its first settlement payment in the next several weeks.
“Opioid and substance misuse is one of America’s – and Idaho’s – growing problems. Idaho has made significant strides in recent years in combatting the opioid crisis, and the culmination of our legal action against opioid manufacturers – led by Attorney General Wasden and his team – now offers additional resources. Altogether, our investments and activities will turn the tide on the opioid crisis. Our coordination and focused efforts will bring about better education and prevention, more effective alternatives for pain, improved treatment options, and coordinated and enhanced mental health resources,” Governor Little said.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division led Idaho’s involvement in the settlement. Negotiations took three years. A total of 49 states signed on to the agreement, which resolves more than 4,000 claims of state and local government across the country. Wasden continues to litigate against other opioid manufacturers as well as the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma.
“This settlement holds some of those most responsible for the opioid crisis accountable 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 its recovery from the opioid crisis. I want to thank Governor Little and members of the Legislature for working closely with my office to ensure that these funds will help us move forward toward a healthier future for Idaho citizens. I also want to thank participating counties and cities, as well as the members of my team who worked so hard to execute this incredibly important settlement.”
All funds must be spent on opioid remediation programs. Under the Idaho Opioid Settlement Intrastate Allocation Agreement, opioid settlement funds will be divided with 40-percent going directly to participating counties and cities and 20-percent to regional public health districts. The remaining 40-percent will be allocated to the State-Directed Opioid Settlement Fund to be appropriated by the Idaho legislature based on recommendations by the Idaho Behavioral Health Council.
As part of the settlement, certain special districts were identified in each participating state based on the size of the population they serve. The special districts who participated in the settlements are North Ada County Fire & Rescue, Eagle Fire, Star Fire, Shelley Firth Fire, Nampa Fire Protection District, Middleton Fire, Kootenai Health, Madison County Fire, Meridian Rural Fire Protection District, Whitney Fire, Kuna Rural Fire, Blackfoot Snake River Fire District, Central Fire Protection District, Kootenai County Fire & Rescue, Northern Lakes Fire Protection, Moscow Fire, Bonneville County Fire Protection District #1, Caldwell Rural Fire, Twin Falls Rural Fire, North Bannock Fire, North Cassia Fire, Minidoka County Fire, Gem County Fire Prot. #1, West Ada School District and Boise School District.
Information regarding Idaho’s opioid settlement may be found here.
In addition to the funds, Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen will:
• 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; and
• Require senior corporate officials to engage in regular oversight of anti-diversion efforts.
Johnson & Johnson is required to:
• Stop selling opioids;
• Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids;
• Not lobby on activities related to opioids; and
• Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.