New York reaches $1.1B settlement with opioid distributors

The state of New York has reached a $1.1 billion settlement agreement with three of the nation’s largest drug distributors after the state accused the companies of contributing to the opioid crisis.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released the settlement obtained with the McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation on Tuesday, saying the state is holding the distributors “accountable” for their alleged role in the epidemic.

The three distributors will pay the $1.1 billion to New York state, with more than $1 billion of that being designated to opioid treatment, recovery and prevention. The payments will start in two months and continue over 17 years.

In exchange, New York will file to remove McKesson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen from its continuing opioid trial in Suffolk County State Supreme Court.

“While no amount of money will ever compensate for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, or the countless communities decimated by opioids, this money will be vital in preventing any future devastation,” James said in a statement.

Distributor response: In a joint statement, McKesson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen said they saw the settlement as “an important step toward finalizing a broad settlement with states, counties, and political subdivisions.”

“While the companies strongly dispute the allegations at issue in the trial, they believe this resolution will allow the companies to focus their attention and resources on the safe and secure delivery of medications and therapies while delivering meaningful relief to affected communities, and will also support efforts to achieve a broad resolution under the previously disclosed framework,” the distributors said in a joint release.