Drug Distributors and J.&J. Reach $26 Billion Deal to End Opioid Lawsuits

Of the $26 billion deal, more than $2 billion will not go to states and territories at all. It will be used to pay fees and costs for thousands of counties and municipalities as well as private attorneys representing some states in opioid litigation. Although many states are represented by their own salaried attorneys, others require relying on an outside attorney to conduct such an expensive, all-consuming trial, as most cities and counties did. was.

While states are deciding whether to sign off, trials against the companies will continue, including a local West Virginia trial against Johnson & Johnson in California state court and in federal court against distributors. At least half a dozen other tests are scheduled to begin in the fall and early winter.

The plaintiffs’ executive committee, which negotiated on behalf of local governments, said Wednesday’s announcement was a milestone, adding that “reaching an agreement is just one step.”

Joe Rice, a key negotiator on the committee, noted that some states would have to pass laws governing how opioid disposal funds would be used and preventing future litigation.

But he emphasized that from the start of the conversation, the payments were intended to be used almost exclusively to address the opioid epidemic. Mr. Rice, who helped negotiate the Big Tobacco settlements more than 20 years ago, acknowledged that much of that money would be used to balance the state budget rather than be directed toward treating smoking-related problems. was given for.

The new agreement, he said, was a very hard guard rail to ensure that money went to prevention, treatment, medicines, education and other opioid-related problems.

Most states are likely to work out their disbursement plans with their local governments. ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Florida and others have already brokered internal formulas. last month, New York Legislature Bills were passed to ensure that all money from opioid litigation settlements would go into a “lock box,” which would only be used to address the crisis.

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