Final approval for landmark opioid settlement announced

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 2:12 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A huge opioid settlement has received final approval after three years, giving the state of Alaska millions of dollars in funds.

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor announced March 1 that a $26 billion agreement has been made to settle claims involving poor practices by three major distributors related to the opioid epidemic: Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, as well as Johnson & Johnson, a big manufacturer and marketer of opioids.

Alaska received a total of $58 million from the settlement and the money will be coming into local and state governments in the second quarter of this year, after the three companies begin sending money to a national administrator on April 2. According to the press release, 15% of that will go to nine political subdivisions in Alaska who participated in the agreement and the remainder will be used to help Alaskans recover from the side effects of opioid addiction.

States and political subdivisions have been working with the distributors involved in this settlement for several years. The agreement established guidelines for companies that are intended to prevent more of an opioid crisis.

The agreement requires that Johnson & Johnson will no longer sell opioids and will not provide funds to third parties who promote them, and that Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen must use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies. It also will stop pharmacy’s ability to receive shipments and report companies who show signs of deviation from these rules.

The drug companies announced the settlement plan last year.

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