Big Loss for Big Pharma Over Native American Opioid Crisis

( – Drug manufacturers have been under fire for their part in fueling the opioid epidemic. Facing accusations of pushing opioid drugs and misrepresenting their addictiveness, these companies have made various settlements in lawsuits from governments and groups, including one on behalf of Native American tribes in a District court in Ohio.

Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson have made settlements to cover all Native American tribes in the country. While some details are still in negotiation, the total amount of the agreements is $590 million, according to a February 1 court filing.

Johnson & Johnson will pay $150 million, with the other companies paying the remaining $440 million. The payments will occur over two years for Johnson & Johnson and seven years for the others.

The settlements are repayment for the suffering of Native Americans due to opioids. The population was one of the hardest hit by the epidemic, and the money will assist tribes with the severe financial consequences they had in providing for addicted members and their families. Tribes will also use the funds to build addiction help centers and finance other services to remedy the situation.

While this marks the largest Native American settlement, it’s not likely to be the last. The Cherokee Nation recently had its own deal, and there are ongoing cases that will probably end with out-of-court payments as well.

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