In a late-night settlement negotiation on Monday, according to a source familiar with the discussions, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation agreed to pay $ 1.1 billion for reduction efforts. of opioids in the Empire State, according to the statement.
“For more than two decades, the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc in countless communities across New York City and the rest of the country, killing hundreds of thousands of friends and family and increasing millions more, ”James said in a statement Tuesday. “And for the past two decades, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen have distributed these opioids regardless of the national crisis they were helping fuel. “
“Today, we hold them accountable, providing more than $ 1 billion more to opioid-ravaged New York communities for treatment, recovery and prevention efforts,” added James. “While no amount of money will ever make up for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths or the countless communities decimated by opioids, that money will be vital to preventing any future devastation. “
The money will be paid out over the next 17 years, with the first payment taking place in September.
All three distributors have also agreed to monitor their opioid shipments in the future, with an independent third-party watchdog overseeing pharmacy-level distribution data grouped between the three companies.
McKesson, Cardinal and Amerisource Bergen were sued by New York State in 2019, in a massive lawsuit against a long list of pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors. At the time, James accused companies of engaging in “years of deceptive marketing about opioid risks and (of breach) of their fundamental duty to report suspicious behavior.”
Johnson & Johnson settled the issue with the state last month, paying $ 230 million to resolve the dispute. Several other defendants in the original lawsuit, including Purdue Pharma and distributor Rochester Drug Cooperative, have declared bankruptcy, and the lawsuits against them are going through the bankruptcy court system.
Three other opioid makers – Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and Allergan Finance, LLC – continue to challenge the state’s claims at trial.
Tuesday’s settlement was negotiated in coordination with efforts towards a so-called “comprehensive settlement” that aims to resolve thousands of opioid cases nationwide, according to James’ statement. These negotiations are ongoing.