J&J, 3 wholesalers reach $590M opioid settlement with Native American tribes

AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, Cardinal Health and Johnson & Johnson reached a $590 million deal to settle lawsuits filed by hundreds of Native American tribes alleging the companies fueled the opioid crisis, according to a Feb. 1 NPR report.

Under the proposed deal, Johnson & Johnson will pay $150 million over two years. AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Cardinal Health agreed to pay about $440 million over seven years.

The plaintiffs are more than 400 tribes who have accused the companies of being responsible for the surge in opioid overdoses among their communities. All 574 federally recognized tribes are eligible to receive part of the settlement, regardless of whether they participated in a lawsuit, according to the tribes' lawyers.

AmerisourceBergen told NPR the settlement "will both expedite the flow of resources to communities impacted by the crisis while enabling AmerisourceBergen to focus on ensuring the pharmaceutical supply chain is meeting the needs of healthcare providers and patients."

Johnson & Johnson said the deal is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing. The drugmaker said its opioid marketing was "appropriate and responsible," and it no longer sells prescription opioids in the U.S.

McKesson and Cardinal Health have not returned requests for comment, NPR reported.

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