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October 22, 2019

Miller supports framework for $48 billion opioid settlement

'Any settlement must provide significant funds and treatment drugs to help people recover'

DES MOINES — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller supports a $48 billion settlement framework with two drug makers and three distributors over their role in the opioid epidemic.

“Many details need to be worked out, but this framework is an important step in addressing the crisis,” Miller said. “Any settlement must provide significant funds and treatment drugs to help people recover, as well as include requirements on the companies to prevent more addiction and death.”

The drug manufacturers — Johnson & Johnson and Teva — and distributors — Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen — have agreed to the settlement in principle. The deal includes $22 billion in cash over 18 years and $26 billion in medication assisted treatment drugs and their distribution over 10 years.

The state of Iowa and cities and counties would receive a share of the $22 billion in cash to take action to abate the crisis, including providing addiction treatment, community paramedic services, drug courts, and other activities. The distribution of cash will be based on a formula that will be finalized.

A bipartisan group of attorneys general launched an investigation into the distributors that sought information related to whether McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal fulfilled their legal duty to raise red flags about pharmacies’ suspicious drug orders.

The investigation into the two manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson and Teva, centered on the possibility that patients and doctors were misled about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.

Miller’s office has sued another opioid manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, and its former chairman, Richard Sackler. That case is now in bankruptcy court. “We will continue to work to hold Purdue and the Sackler family accountable,” Miller said. “Meanwhile, the settlement with the other companies offers the opportunity to begin getting resources to Iowans who have suffered due to the opioid crisis.”


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