NC among 4 states to reach $48B settlement with drug companies over opioid epidemic

North Carolina news

FILE – This Monday, June 17, 2019, file photo, shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone. Two Ohio counties are asking a judge to find that drugmakers and distributors were not allowed to ship suspicious orders of controlled substances to pharmacies. If a judge sides with the request from Cuyahoga and Summit counties, it would clear the way for the governments to assert that drug companies ignored the regulations as a nationwide opioid crisis continued to grow. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – North Carolina is among four states that have reached a multi-billion dollar settlement with five major drug companies over its roles in the nationwide opioid epidemic.

State Attorney General Josh Stein on Monday announced that his office along with the attorneys general from Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Texas, agreed on a $48 billion settlement with Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva.

The deal includes $22 billion in cash and $26 billion in medication-assisted treatment drugs and their distribution over 10 years.

“The opioid epidemic has ripped through our communities and left a trail of death and destruction in its wake,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This agreement is an important step in our progress to help restore people’s lives. Not only will it provide significant funds and treatment drugs to help people get healthy, it will go a long way in preventing the pill mills that fed so many people’s addictions in North Carolina and around the nation.”

Stein added that the attorneys general are optimistic that other states will join this agreement in the coming days and weeks.

Earlier in the day, the Associated Press reported that AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson reached a $260 million settlement with two Ohio counties just as the first federal trial associated with the crisis was set to begin on Monday.

In addition to $22 billion in cash and $26 billion in generic suboxone product, product distribution, and data-tracking measures, the three major distributors — McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health — have also agreed to change their policies to prevent over-distribution in the future.

The framework announced on Monday is an agreement in principle. Each state and its local governments will receive a share of the $22 billion in cash to take action to abate the crisis, including providing addiction treatment, community paramedic services, and telehealth treatment, among other activities.

The distribution of cash will be based on a formula that will be finalized.

Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved.

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