The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Jonshon and three of the largest drug distributors in the United States have reached an agreement of 26,000 million dollars with several States to settle the thousands of lawsuits they are facing due to the opioid crisis, which has reached To be declared a public health emergency, it has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans in recent years and generated a ton of addicts through misinformation and mismanagement. Once the pact is ratified by state and local governments, the funds will be used to finance addiction prevention and treatment services in affected communities.
In addition to J&J, the companies Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson are part of the agreement, which are heavyweights of distribution in the United States, but the rest of the pharmaceutical sector continues to litigate with citizens and local authorities throughout the country. In this case - and in most cases - the complainants maintain that the distributors ignored the huge quantities of shipments of opiates prescribed to the communities and that the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson minimized the addictive capacity of these products. One of the drugs that wreaked havoc was fenthianil, up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
“Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen not only lit the fuse, they fueled the fire of opioid addictions for more than two decades.
Today we hold these companies to account by injecting billions of dollars, "said the attorney general of the state of New York, Letitita James, in a statement.
James announced the agreement Wednesday afternoon jointly with the attorneys general of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Louisiana.
The States and the District of Columbia (the city of Washington) now have a period of 30 days to review the fine print and, especially, the distribution of the money.
A pharmacist shows a bottle of OxyContin at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, in May 2019.GEORGE FREY / Reuters
The distributors contribute 21,000 million and J&J, 5,000 million. Other lawsuits between states are pending and companies such as Teva or Allegran and distribution chains such as CVS or Walgreens, also defendants, are also negotiating agreements to avoid lawsuits. Purdue Pharma, one of the most prominent companies in this crisis for manufacturing the painkiller, OxyContin (trade name in the United States, Oxycodone in Spain), pleaded guilty to deception in October 2020 and reached a civil agreement to pay 8,300 million dollars, but because you are bankrupt, severance payments are unlikely.
In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, more than 93,000 people died in the United States from drug overdoses, which represented an increase of 29% compared to the 2019 figure, which had already broken a record, according to data from the National Center for US Health Statistics released this week. Of the 93,000 who died, about 70,000 were due to opioid overdoses.