Native American Tribes Reach Major Opioid Settlement


BBC News - TRANSCEND Media Service

Native American tribes have agreed a landmark settlement with major drug companies over the devastation caused by opioid addiction.

OxyContin medication on a pharmacy shelf in Provo, Utah.
Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

1 Feb 2022 – The tentative deal – with Johnson & Johnson and three major drug distributers – is worth $590m (£436m).

The companies had been accused of “knowingly pushing addictive drugs into vulnerable communities”.

A statement from Johnson & Johnson said it admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

The company said its actions promoting their pain medications was “appropriate and responsible”.

Distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Health Inc, also agreed the terms today.

Payouts from the settlement will be available to the 574 federally-recognised tribes, including those that did not take part in the claims.

A total of $440m will be paid over the next seven years, on top of the $75m already promised to the Cherokee Nation.AmerisourceBergen said the deal would “expedite the flow of resources to communities impacted by the crisis”.

Native Americans have “suffered some of the worst consequences of the opioid epidemic of any population in the United States,” according to the court papers from the Tribal Leadership Committee.

“The burden of paying these increased costs has diverted scarce funds from other needs and has imposed severe financial burdens on the tribal plaintiffs,” it said.

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