Washington State Reaches $518 Million Settlement With Opioid Suppliers | Drug News
The deal ends a months-long lawsuit over the companies’ alleged role in fueling the state’s opioid epidemic, the three companies said Tuesday.
Washington has reached a $518 million settlement with drug distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Health, ending a months-long lawsuit over the companies’ alleged role in fueling the opioid epidemic in state in the northwestern United States, the three companies announced on Tuesday.
McKesson will pay $197 million, while AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal will each pay $160.5 million.
Washington has pulled out of a $26 billion nationwide opioid settlement involving the three drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson. He reportedly received up to $417.9 million from McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen as part of the settlement, which was finalized in February.
The settlement is one of the largest in Washington state history, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a news release.
“We could have joined the overwhelming majority of states and settled with the biggest opioid distributors, but instead chose to fight them in court,” Ferguson said. “This decision to bring them to justice will mean significant additional resources for Washington to fight the opioid epidemic.” The state had accused drug distributors of failing to prevent the diversion of prescription pills for illegal purposes in a trial that began in November before King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott in Seattle. Washington had requested $38.2 billion to fund the treatment.
The distributors, who deny wrongdoing, said the settlement would bring significant relief to communities affected by the opioid epidemic in the United States.
Opioid overdoses have caused more than 500,000 deaths in the United States over the past two decades, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Washington was among a handful of states to opt out of the $26 billion national opioid settlement, along with Alabama and Oklahoma. New Hampshire settled with the three drug distributors but not with Johnson & Johnson, while West Virginia was not part of the national agreement due to a prior agreement between the state and the three distributors of drugs.
Alabama recently reached a separate $276 million settlement with McKesson, Johnson & Johnson and Endo International Plc on April 18, averting a lawsuit that was scheduled to proceed against McKesson that day.
West Virginia settled the state’s opioid claims against Johnson & Johnson for $99 million on April 20. West Virginia counties are still pursuing lawsuits against McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health.
Florida and West Virginia are currently in the midst of opioid trials against other defendants. Florida is pursuing claims against Walgreens Boots Alliance, while West Virginia is pursuing claims against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and AbbVie’s Allergan.