The settlement, if reached, would stop the jury trials that have been tentatively set for January of next year and any future lawsuits against the companies. While, state attorney generals, local governments and their lawyers nationwide still need to decide to accept the terms insiders say the response has been much more positive than that to previous settlement offers. Details of
The New York Times reports:
The deal is $4 billion more than an offer made a year ago, that was rejected by many states and municipalities. A major difference in the latest offer is $2 billion earmarked for private lawyers who represent cities, counties, and some states.
If the deal is finalized, four of the most prominent defendants in the behemoth, nationwide litigation — McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and Johnson & Johnson — would no longer be at risk from future opioid lawsuits by these governments. Other drug manufacturers and the national pharmacy chains are still facing thousands of such cases.
The article notes that settlement money will largely be used by state and local governments to mitigate effects of the opioid crisis and to reimburse local governments for their response efforts. The states will be awarded settlement funds based on a set criteria — state population, overdose deaths, diagnoses of substance use disorders and volume of pills sold — and would be in charge of distributing the funds awarded. The drug companies will also have to strengthen their prescription drug monitoring programs.
For more information:
$26 Billion Settlement Offer in Opioid Lawsuits Gains Wide Support (The New York Times)