Oxycontin: devastating damage
Photo: George Frey / REUTERS
Opioid overdoses are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the USA - in the scandal surrounding the massive prescription of opioid-containing painkillers, the three largest drug dealers in the country in the state of New York have now agreed to a billion-dollar settlement.
As announced by Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday, the companies McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen agreed to pay a total of 1.18 billion dollars.
According to US media reports, an even more extensive agreement between the three wholesalers and the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson with a number of other states and local authorities is imminent.
This settlement, for which there have been negotiations since 2019, could amount to a sum of 26 billion dollars, reported the New York Times, citing anonymous sources.
Ransom from jury trial
The opioid crisis had caused devastating damage to numerous places in New York as well as in the rest of the country for more than two decades, said Attorney General James on the occasion of the settlement for her state.
"Hundreds of thousands of our friends and family members were killed" and "millions more were made dependent".
With the money from McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Berge, among other things, treatment and preventive measures are to be financed.
At the same time, the comparison allows the three companies to withdraw from a jury trial against them in New York.
In view of the consequences of the opioid crisis, however, the companies involved are still getting off relatively lightly.
Because experts see the direct connection to the excessive prescription of pain relievers like Oxycontin as proven, which has led to more than 500,000 deaths since the late 1990s.
Until the mid-1990s, these drugs were reserved for the treatment of the seriously ill.
The manufacturers as well as US pharmacies are accused of having massively advertised the means despite the high risk of addiction and of having ignored all warning signs.
According to the US health authority CDC last Wednesday, more than 93,000 people in the United States died of drug overdoses in the Corona year 2020 alone, almost 70,000 of them from opioids.
A much larger number suffered a dramatic economic and social plunge from addiction.
Whole families were destroyed.
The after-effects for the indirectly affected children cannot yet be foreseen.
mik / AFP