4 New Opioid Settlements Worth $226M For Oklahoma

According to the attorney general, Oklahoma has reached settlement agreements worth more than $226 million with three large drugstore chains and one opioid manufacturer.

Oklahoma has collected more than $900 million from opioid producers and distributors to help solve the state's opioid issue, including fresh settlements with pharmaceutical Allergan and drugstore chains CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart.

Oklahoma families have experienced indescribable anguish as a result of the opioid crisis, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Oklahoma residents. More than 3,000 Oklahomans perished from opioid overdoses between 2016 and 2020.

Almost all of the settlement payments must be spent to assist Oklahoma to recover from the impacts of the opioid crisis, including prevention and treatment programmes.

In November, three of the major U.S. drugstore chains negotiated $13 billion in settlements with states over the opioid toll. CVS Health and Walgreen Co. each pay approximately $5 billion under separate agreements, while Walmart pays more than $3 billion. Nobody has confessed any wrongdoing.

The settlements are the latest in a series of agreements reached by state and municipal governments with businesses like drugmakers, distribution firms, and even a consulting firm, even as some litigation over how the medications are advertised and sold continues. The entire amount of proposed and approved settlements currently exceeds $50 billion. Unlike cigarette business settlements in the 1990s, the majority of the money must be spent to combat the opioid problem, which has been connected to over 500,000 fatalities in the United States since 2000.

Oklahoma was the first state, under the then-Attorney General, to achieve a $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma, the producer of OxyContin. The majority of that funding went toward establishing the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

Oklahoma was also the first state to go to trial in a case against opioid manufacturers accused of contributing to the country's opioid problem. In 2019, a district court judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson and its Belgium-based subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals violated the state's public nuisance legislation, and ordered the firm to pay the state $465 million to assist solve the state's opioid issue. That verdict, however, was later overturned by the state Supreme Court, which decided that the trial court judge misinterpreted the state's public nuisance legislation.

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