The nation’s three largest opioid distributors have announced that they plan to move forward with a $26 billion global settlement that would resolve ongoing and future lawsuits filed by states, cities, counties, Native American Tribes and other jurisdictions, according to three people familiar with the negotiations, reports the Wall Street Journal. (The Washington Post assessed the amount at $21 billion.) The deal could set aside funds for governments, and release McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen from the nationwide litigation brought by the many communities devastated by the opioid crisis.
As part of this settlement, companies will agree to share information about their shipments of controlled substances. Companies would also pay for a third-party clearinghouse that would share information about their shipment of controlled substances for a decade, tracking all distributors’ data, which would not be exempt from public record requests. The companies will also be required to alert state regulators about suspicious orders and customers that were either terminated or turned away due to concerns about their controls fry controlled substances. This agreement will still need broad support, as at least 44 states, 95 percent of cities, counties, and others suing the companies and 90 percent of non-litigating jurisdictions must sign onto the deal to receive a portion of the money.