About 90% of local governments nationwide that were eligible to
participate in the settlement with McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen
Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and J&J had opted to do so by a Wednesday
deadline, said Peter Mougey, a plaintiffs' lawyer involved in the
Those municipalities and counties are located in 45 states and
several territories that had earlier agreed to settle with the three
largest U.S. drug distributors after the proposed settlement was
announced in July.
Forty-four states will settle with J&J. New Hampshire settled with
the distributors but is still suing J&J for billions of dollars. It
is one of five states that declined to settle with all or some of
"To get 6,000 cities and counties to agree on anything at the 90%
level in 90 days is unprecedented," Mougey said. "It demonstrates
the strength and power of this settlement."
In California, over 400 cities and counties, or 97%, joined, putting
the most populous state a step closer to receiving more than $2
billion from the settlement and "closing this dark chapter,"
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said.
J&J in a statement said it is evaluating the level of participation
by eligible local governments. The distributors did not respond to
requests for comment.
The deal aims to resolve thousands of lawsuits by state and local
governments and future cases they could bring seeking to hold the
companies responsible for an opioid abuse crisis that has led to
hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths.
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The distributors agreed to pay up to $21
billion, while J&J agreed to pay up to $5
billion. The money is largely intended to fund
treatment and other programs to address the
How much the
companies ultimately pay depends on state and local government
participation. About $10.7 billion was tied to local government
The companies have until Feb. 25 to decide whether to proceed with
Mougey, a partner at the law firm Levin Papantonio, said that by
mid-Wednesday, 3,010 local governments pursuing lawsuits against the
distributors agreed to settle, along with 3,405 with populations of
over 10,000 that had not filed a lawsuit.
He said 3,038 local governments that sued J&J have joined the deal
along with 3,324 non-litigating ones.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi
and Bill Berkrot)
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