Niagara and Erie counties, along with other communities and counties around the New York state, will get a relevant settlement for the opioid crisis caused by the manufacturers throughout the state.
Niagara County Legislator stated it was a risk to tackle the big manufacturers in terms of power, but eventually, the struggle is worth it due to the announced settlement. He added that a large number of kids and people across the state have been affected due to the opioid crisis and the settlement will be a big relief for the affected communities and families.
As per the agreement, the distributors and manufacturers will pay tens of millions of dollars to the New York state counties to compensate for the opioid crisis.
According to the statistics provided by County Health Department, 1,761 Erie County residents have died because of drug overdose since 2013. The attorney for the county said that a maximum of nearly $45 million would be paid to Erie County. The amount would be used for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction among the residents. Niagara County will get $11 million over the next ten years as the settlement.
The counties will even benefit from the nationwide settlement where McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corp, along with Johnson & Johnson, agreed to compensate for the opioid crisis fueled across the nation.
Earlier, a federal judge has approved the bankruptcy plan from the Sackler family, which will dissolve the OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and pay the settlement of $4.5 billion for the opioid crisis fueled by the company across the country.
The settlement plan will free the drugmaker from all the future opioid lawsuits. The company will be reorganized with new board members appointed by the public officials. The profits earned by the company will be used to prevent and treat opioid addiction among the masses in the country.
It's been three years since the company filed for bankruptcy due to the 3,000 lawsuits filed against it. The lawsuits were filed by states, local governments, Native American tribes, hospitals, unions and other entities with accusations that the company fraudulently marketed the drug to increase sales and profit.
Oregon and Arizona have signed the $26 billion nationwide opioid settlement agreement, which will be paid by the three major pharmaceutical distributors and Johnson and Johnson (J&J).
As per the agreement, Oregon will receive up to $332 million over the next 18 years and Arizona will get $549 million for opioid treatment and prevention of future opioid crisis. The final settlement amount for both the states will depend on the participation of cities and counties in the agreement.
The settlement will give some relief to the opioid affected families and individuals of the state. The amount would be used to prevent future opioid crisis and implement awareness programs to educate people about opioid side effects. It will also be used to treat the affected individuals who are suffering from life-altering effects due to opioid addiction.
Arizona declared a public health emergency in 2017 as the number of opioid-related deaths increased by 75% over five years. In 2020, the death rate due to opioids in Arizona increased to 33% more than the previous year, as 2,600 residents died because of the overdose. The death rate due to opioids decreased in Oregon between 2006 and 2018, but the state saw 462 deaths in 2020 as compared to 280 in 2019 due to opioid overdose.
The agreement guides the drug distributors and J&J to stop selling opioids and highlight suspicious opioid orders instantly for preventing illicit opioid activities.
Nevada has rejected the nationwide opioid settlement of $26 billion, which would be paid by the three major pharmaceutical distributors, along with Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
Many states have agreed with the $26 billion agreement, but some states, including Nevada, Alabama, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Washington and West Virginia, rejected the proposal and would seek separate compensation.
Attorney General Aaron Ford said that as per the agreement, Nevada would have received $282 million over the next 18 years as compensation for the opioid crisis in the state. He further added that the compensation is inadequate and also provided data stating that Nevada witnessed a 40% increase in opioid deaths in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Ford said that Nevada is the hardest-hit state in the U.S. because of the opioid crisis, and he will make sure to get proper compensation for the epidemic. The rejection of the deal is supported by the Clark, Douglas, Humboldt, Mineral and Washoe counties, along with North Las Vegas, Sparks and West Wendover cities of Nevada.
The states still have a period of one month to sign the month, whereas the local governments have five months to accept the proposal. Forty-four states have participated in the agreement, which is a wonderful support to the deal as per the companies.
J&J will pay $5 billion, and the distributors, namely McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc., will pay $21 billion of the settlement.
The settlement would not affect the Sackler family's fortune, but the opioid crisis has damaged the reputation of the family. Many states and the U.S. bankruptcy trustee opposed the settlement and indicated that they would appeal against the decision.
This is not the first time that the company will pay such a penalty. Earlier, in 2007, the company was charged under misled regulators and addiction dangers of OxyContin when Purdue paid $600 million.
The opioid crisis has resulted in more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. Last year, the data recorded 70,000 deaths due to opioids.