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In reversal, Georgia joins $26 billion U.S. opioid settlement

Stock MarketsJan 07, 2022 01:16PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tablets of the opioid-based Hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Portsmouth, Ohio, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) - The state of Georgia has decided to join a proposed $26 billion nationwide settlement resolving lawsuits alleging that three large drug distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) fueled the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic.

Friday's announcement by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr marked the latest instance of a holdout state opting into the landmark agreements with J&J, McKesson Corp (NYSE:MCK), AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC) Corp and Cardinal Health Inc (NYSE:CAH).

"We are confident that joining the settlement at this time will prove beneficial to our state, our citizens and our communities, as we continue our fight to end this epidemic and address the widespread damage it has caused," Carr said.

AmerisourceBergen said it was "pleased to see the increased commitment to participation in the global settlement process." J&J referred to an earlier statement saying the deal supports state and local efforts address the epidemic.

More than 3,300 lawsuits, largely by state and local governments, are pending seeking to hold those and other companies responsible for an opioid abuse crisis that led to hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths.

Under a proposal unveiled in July, the distributors and J&J agreed to pay up to $21 billion and $5 billion, respectively.

How much the companies ultimately must pay and how much outstanding litigation they will face depends on state and local government participation.

Settlement supporters recently extended to Jan. 26 a deadline for cities and counties in states that backed the proposal to opt-in to the deals, citing the potential for more states to join.

Nevada did so Tuesday, and New Mexico in December backed the distributors' deal. Five states are left for the distributors to contend with, including the state of Washington, which has taken them to trial.

Six states have not settled with J&J, including New Hampshire, where a judge on Friday cleared the way https://tmsnrt.rs/3q0dQWl for the state to take J&J to trial on Feb. 1 for creating a public nuisance.

In reversal, Georgia joins $26 billion U.S. opioid settlement
 

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Comments (2)
Me comment
Me comment Jan 07, 2022 4:24PM ET
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Need to target the subscribing doctors and pharmacies that failed to monitor the usage. All you needed to do was contact the pharmacy for a refill, they would call to get the prescription update from the doctors office with no verification of need.
james mcculloch jr
james mcculloch jr Jan 07, 2022 3:05PM ET
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good. out fn standing. f the sacklers for good...should publicly hang them all.
 
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