Opioid lawsuits in NYC, L.A. move forward

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 06: AUGUST 06: New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference announcing a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA on August 06, 2020 in New York City. New York State Attorney General Letitia filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association charging the organization as a whole as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and CFO Wilson Phillips, Chief of Staff and Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer with failing to manage the NRA’s funds and failing to follow state and federal laws. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference announcing a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA on August 06, 2020 in NYC. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:35 PM PT – Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Top prosecutors across the nation have begun taking action against several big pharmaceutical companies for their alleged contributions to the opioid crisis. On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a more than $1 billion settlement with three of the nation’s largest drug distributors for distributing opioids “without regard to the national crisis they were helping to fuel.”

Payments from McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation are slated to start in several months. Last month, James reportedly said they had come to an agreement with Johnson and Johnson of $230 million. James added although an agreement has been reached, no amount of money could ever account for the lives lost and the lives impacted by opioid addiction.

This initial agreement isn’t the last for the drug companies, as the four are working on finalizing a $26 billion settlement that would provide money to states, cities and counties across the country. Los Angeles’ city attorney Mike Feuer said an agreement on the major deal could come soon.

This comes as Los Angeles was one of the first cities and counties in the U.S. to file a lawsuit alleging the pharmaceutical industry was reportedly fueling the opioid crisis.

“We allege that the distributors regularly failed to report suspiciously large and frequent orders. We sued because no corporation, no matter how powerful, should be allowed to get away with putting profits over people’s lives,” said Feuer.

Feuer added he’s expecting tens of millions of dollars from the settlement, which would be used for “targeting the intersection between substance abuse disorder and homelessness.” The final approval for the $26 billion settlement would need to be agreed upon by more than 40 states, including hundreds of cities and counties.

If approved, the money would be used for prevention, treatment and recovery.

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