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Maryland attorney general announces multibillion dollar opioids settlement

Karl Racine, Brian Frosh
FILE – In this June 12, 2017 file photo, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh speaks during a news conference in Washington. The end of the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case has left a bitter taste for those who wanted to see more accountability for the Sackler family. They will pay more than $4 billion under the settlement but also will escape any future liability over the nation’s opioid crisis. The question at the heart of the upcoming appeals is whether it’s appropriate for a wealthy family that did not itself file for bankruptcy to get such a broad protection given its role in a crisis that continues take a deadly toll across America. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) Alex Brandon/AP

Maryland attorney general announces multibillion dollar opioids settlement

September 09, 12:30 PM September 09, 12:30 PM

The state of Maryland expects to be awarded nearly $500 million dollars in a pair of multistate settlements reached Wednesday with three opioid distributors and Johnson & Johnson, Attorney General Brian Frosh said.

“No amount of money could ever compensate for the devastation wrought by the opioid epidemic,” Frosh said in a news release. “But these settlements will bring much needed funds to address the harms Marylanders have suffered. The funds will provide addiction treatment, prevention, and other abatement programs across the State to help Marylanders recover.”

Maryland joined 41 states, five territories and the District of Columbia in the suits, Frosh said.

The judgment comes against McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health, alleging the trio of companies “failed for years to monitor and report suspicious orders for opioid products, which resulted in the diversion of those drugs on a massive scale.”

Frosh said the Johnson & Johnson settlement “will resolve claims that the company deceptively marketed its fentanyl products to health care providers and patients.”

Up to $411.17 million could be paid to Maryland by McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health. Johnson & Johnson’s settlement could net Maryland up to $91.6 million, according to the release.

As part of the settlement agreement, the opioid distribution company will implement safety measures and reporting procedures to “address suspicious orders and diversion of opioids.”

Frosh said Johnson & Johnson will cease all sales of opioids as part of the settlement.

Whether Maryland receives a full share, Frosh said, will be determined by the “level of participation” by the counties and municipalities in the state, who have until January 2022 to decide whether to join the settlement.

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