The price tag of manufacturing an opioid crisis that led to the deaths of thousands of Americans in Ohio and nationwide is $26 billion. Four pharmaceutical giants have consented to pay this amount to settle the mountain of lawsuits lodged against them. Johnson & Johnson, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson were found to have employed business tactics that contributed to deadly opioid addiction.
Guilty without admitting it
While the companies are paying up, there is no admission of guilt from their side. Although their opioids led to prescription addiction, they remain mum about their companies’ direct involvement. However, the lawsuits revealed secrets that the corporations would rather have kept silent. For example, some of their drugs that went to small towns were then sent to other places to be sold illegally.
Thousands of lawsuits were filed against these corporations.; in reaching an agreement with the manufacturers, the individual lawsuits will be dropped in favor of one large settlement for all. It will be split among the charging parties, including 46 states and Native American tribal governments. According to a joint statement by the defendants, many U.S. communities will benefit substantially for the purposes of helping the people their companies hurt. The recipients will share $19.5 billion over an 18-year period.
The North Carolina State Attorney is pleased with the settlement. Although the corporations did not acknowledge guilt, he believes that this legal action holds them accountable for the deadly outcomes. Now, a large portion of the funds will be used for drug treatment programs. The AG believes that these drug programs will help people enter recovery and prevent death.
The end and the beginning
While this settlement has reached a conclusion, the opioid crisis still lingers. The use of synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, is on the rise and sometimes more dangerous than prescription pain killers. According to the CDC, tens of thousands die every year due to drug overdoses. Thus, helping those addicted to opioids in their various forms promises to be a long road ahead.