New York reaches $1.1 billion settlement with opioid distributors

New York reached a $1.1 billion settlement on Tuesday with three of the country’s largest drug distributors for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic, New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

The big picture: The settlement comes as the three companies — McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen — as well as Johnson & Johnson near a $26 billion deal with states and municipalities that would settle thousands of lawsuits related to the opioid crisis, the New York Times reports.

Tuesday’s agreement in New York is the only deal that has been formally settled to so far, per the Times.New York last month reached a separate $230 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson over its role in the opioid crisis.

Driving the news: According to Tuesday’s settlement, the three distributors will spread their payments out over the next 17 years.

The companies will also participate in a tracking system that is designed to control the amount of opioids sold and shipped to pharmacies across the country.They admit to no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

What she’s saying: “Over the course of these past two decades, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen distributed these opioids without regard to the national crisis they were helping to fuel,” James said in a statement.

“But today, we’re holding them accountable and delivering more than $1 billion more into New York communities ravaged by opioids for treatment, recovery, and prevention efforts.”

Go deeper: CDC says drug overdose deaths hit record 93,300 in 2020

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