The distributors were accused by the complainants of having long overlooked excessive orders. Collectively, companies will pay $ 21 billion in 18 payments over 17 years. The attorneys’ fees, who have pursued and funded the costly litigation for years, will be deducted from the total amount and are expected to be paid faster than some addiction treatment funds. The distributors also did not admit any wrongdoing and, like Johnson & Johnson, noted that they were part of the supply chain of federally approved and controlled drugs.
The agreement would require senior managers of distributors to take an active role in establishing monitoring programs for sales of warning pills.
In return for the payments, the companies demand what is called “world peace” – an agreement between the plaintiffs to permanently lay their swords in court. The proposals will be voted on by representatives of 3,022 cases assembled before a federal judge, Dan A. Polster, in Cleveland, and state attorneys general, who have the power to prosecute defendants in state courts, where several hundred other cases against the companies have also been filed.
Negotiations are led by lawyers from local governments as well as the states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, among others.
Distributors as well as several manufacturers are on trial in a case brought by New York State and two of its counties. According to people familiar with the negotiations, the global $ 26 billion deal includes a $ 1 billion settlement that distributors have negotiated with New York to be released from this lawsuit.
The settlement does not end the nation’s multi-faceted opioid litigation, however, in which the first cases were filed in 2014. Other manufacturer defendants have yet to reach such agreements, such as Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt, which have bankruptcy court proceedings, and Teva and Allergan, who are on trial. Cases against pharmaceutical chains, such as CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart, are even further off the track.
But compared to October 2019, when four attorneys general announced the first iteration of a negotiated plan, the latest offering includes more money, especially for lawyers, and a clearer allocation structure to deliver the money. of settlement to states and localities.