Litigation to date has recovered more than $50 billion for communities nationwide to address and abate opioid epidemic
June 8, 2023 – An additional $18.75 billion will now be provided to communities nationwide to directly address the opioid epidemic, as a vast majority of state and local governments confirmed participation in global settlements that resolve litigation with Walgreens, CVS, Teva, Allergan, and an impending finalized national settlement with Walmart. Now that these agreements are finalized, communities will receive funds to provide life-saving resources where they are needed most – supplementing previous settlements that have already allowed communities to directly abate and address the ongoing crisis.
As with the previous “Big Three” opioid distributor agreements, the settlements require 85 percent of funds be allocated to programs that address the ongoing opioid crisis through treatment, education, and prevention efforts. A majority of states and local governments have already established their protocols to ensure funds will effectively reach those in need.
The complex and unprecedented settlements were negotiated by the National Prescription Opiate Litigation Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) in partnership with the State Attorneys General to reach this complex and unprecedented resolution.
Statement from PEC negotiation team of Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser, Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy, Paul Farrell of Farrell and Fuller, Paul Geller of Robbins Geller, Peter Mougey of Levin Papantonio Rafferty, Joe Rice of Motley Rice LLC, and Chris Seeger of Seeger Weiss:
“Our team is proud to arrive at this moment for communities across the country in dire need of support to address and abate the opioid epidemic. The opioid epidemic has ravaged our country over the past decade and the effects continue today. This sign-on from state and local governments opens the door for more community recovery resources including support to first responders, healthcare workers, law enforcement, and so many others who work every day on the frontlines of this public health crisis. This result would not have been possible without the efforts and advocacy of state attorneys general, community leaders, and so many others who have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of opioid addiction.
“We hope that this agreement, adding to the previous $26 billion in funds from opioid distributors and manufacturers, will give communities nationwide the necessary tools to treat those effected, grow programs to avoid future addiction, and prevent the opioid epidemic from claiming more lives.
“While our efforts have obtained nearly $50 billion for communities nationwide, the work is far from finished. There are other active defendants in the litigation that play a role in the opioid crisis in our country, and we will continue to work to hold those responsible for this epidemic fully accountable.”
Funds retrieved from National Prescription Opioid litigation through trials and settlements will go through state and local governments, who will determine the specific needs of their communities. The settlement agreements include terms that guardrail spending and ensure the funds go specifically to relief programs to help rebuild the devastation caused by the opioid epidemic rather than a general government fund. All spending of these settlement dollars will be strictly monitored by state agencies and boards formed to make determinations on the most efficient and useful programs for these funds.
The settlement will distribute funds based on population adjusted for the proportionate share of the opioid epidemic impact. The share of the impact is calculated using detailed and objective national data, including the amount of opioids shipped to the state, the number of opioid‐related deaths that occurred in the state and the number of people who suffer opioid use disorder in the state.
The settlement also calls for injunctive relief that requires the defendants to make significant changes to corporate practices to protect consumer health and welfare. For the pharmacies, this includes stricter red flag warnings for pharmacists, better monitoring systems for suspicious prescriptions, and other barriers to ensure safe prescribing.
All agreements with Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Teva and Allergan now have reached more than 95% sign on from litigating states and subdivisions nationwide.
Updated information about these settlements are available at the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee negotiation team’s website: www.nationalopioidsettlement.com.
The news is being covered widely, including by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Law Journal, and the Sacramento Bee.