Opioid crisis: $26B proposed agreement to help in fight

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced a historic $26 billion proposed agreement that will help bring relief to people across the country who are struggling with opioid addiction. 

The agreement includes Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids. The proposed agreement also requires significant industry changes that will help prevent this type of crisis from ever happening again. The proposed agreement would resolve investigations and litigation over the companies’ roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic. Depending on the number of states and local governments that are part of the agreement, Wisconsin stands to receive at least an estimated $400 million.

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In March 2019, Attorney General Kaul joined a multistate investigation into the business practices of opioid distributors. For more than two years, assistant attorneys general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice have closely collaborated with other states to investigate the distributors and the role they may have played in fueling the opioid epidemic.

The proposed agreement would resolve the claims of both states and local governments across the country, including the nearly 4,000 that have filed lawsuits in federal and state courts.

Wisconsin DOJ is reviewing the final details of the proposed agreement and will indicate its intention to join by August 20, 2021, a deadline set within the agreement. States have 30 days to sign onto the deal and local governments in the participating states will have up to 150 days to join to secure a critical mass of participating states and local governments. States and their local governments will receive maximum payments if each state and its local governments join together in support of the agreement.

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