Drug companies’ settlement with states and local governments will bring Kentucky $483 million over the next 18 years

Atty. Gen. Daniel Cameron

The state has finalized a $483 million settlement with four drug companies over their roles in the opioid epidemic, and payments should start in the second quarter of the year, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Friday.

The 18-year agreement with drug distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson ends “years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country,” a press release from Cameron’s office said. “It is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement,” which settled lawsuits against cigarette makers for health impacts of smoking.

Cameron, a Republican, said he would “work closely with the legislature and local governments to ensure the funds are put toward programs that will stop the cycle of addiction and help heal our communities.” The state will get half the money, and the other half will go to local governments through an application process of the new Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission.
The four companies also agreed to:

  • Create a clearinghouse to provide all three drug distributors and state regulators with data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, “eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors,” the release said.
  • Use data systems to detect and report suspicious opioid orders from pharmacies, and ban shipments of such orders.
  • When pharmacies “show certain signs of diversion, stop their shipments and report them to state regulators.
  • Prohibit their sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders, and require senior executives regularly examine anti-diversion efforts.

Johnson & Johnson is required to:

  • Stop selling opioids.
  • Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids.
  • Not lobby on activities related to opioids.
  • Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.
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