Johnson & Johnson and three major pharmaceutical distributors have reached a tentative settlement worth $590 million with hundreds of Native American tribes to resolve claims the companies fueled the opioid crisis in their communities.
“We are not solving the opioid crisis with this settlement, but we are getting critical resources to tribal communities to help address the crisis,” said Steven Skikos, a top lawyer for the tribes.
Most tribes are expected to approve the new deal, The New York Times reports. While about 15% of the funds will go toward legal fees and other litigation costs, the majority of the money will go toward addiction treatment and prevention programs. These programs will be overseen by tribal health care experts.
The agreement will go forward once an overwhelming majority of the tribes involved in the litigation have signed on. Although about 175 tribes were involved in the litigation, all 574 federally recognized tribes will benefit, the article notes.