Attorney General Chris Carr today announced that the State of Georgia has signed on to the $26 billion multi-state agreement with Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and opioid manufacturer and marketer Johnson & Johnson.
“As part of our commitment to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Georgia citizens, we are dedicated to holding those accountable who have played a critical role in contributing to the opioid epidemic,” said Carr. “Today’s announcement is the result of our tireless efforts to achieve the best possible outcome for our state and fellow citizens. This includes working with our litigating local governments so that our state is positioned to maximize its recovery under this settlement. 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.”
The settlement agreement resolves investigations and litigation over the companies’ roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic, particularly as to whether the three distributors fulfilled their legal duty to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.
The settlement requires the companies to provide substantial funding for opioid treatment and prevention and to implement significant industry changes that will help to prevent this type of crisis from ever happening again.
Georgia and its local governments stand to receive approximately $636 million under the settlement agreement. Georgia’s share of the settlement will be distributed among the state and local governments pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement, to which the state and local governments have already agreed. Final settlement approval remains contingent on a critical mass of states and local governments participating across the country.
Georgia’s litigation against another distributor and several other opioid manufacturers remains ongoing.