Four Companies Agree to Pay $26 Billion to Settle Opioid Lawsuits

    Johnson & Johnson and three drug wholesalers have agreed to pay $26 billion to settle lawsuits that claimed their business practices helped to worsen the nation’s opioid crisis, NPR reports.

    Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured generic opioid medications, will pay $5 billion, while the drug wholesalers — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — will pay a combined $21 billion.

    Under the settlement, Johnson & Johnson will stop selling opioids; not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids; and not lobby on activities related to opioids.

    The drug wholesalers will be required to take steps including establishing a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where substances are going and how often. This will eliminate blind spots in the current systems used by distributors, according to a news release by North Carolina state Attorney General Josh Stein, who helped negotiate the deal.

    The wholesalers will also prohibit shipping or and report suspicious opioid orders. They will end customer pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show certain signs of diversion.


    March 2022