CONCORD, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella announced today the final approval of the $21 billion opioid agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal Health, Inc., McKesson Corporation., and AmerisourceBergen Corporation. Following successful state sign-on and subdivision sign-on periods, the defendants will start releasing funds to a national administrator on April 2, 2022. Money will start flowing to state and local governments in the second quarter of 2022.
The agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country. Fifty-two states and territories have signed on to the agreement as well as thousands of local governments across the country. In New Hampshire, all 10 counties, as well as 31 municipalities and 5 school districts have signed onto the agreement. As a result, New Hampshire is expected to receive its full share of the settlement funds, or approximately $115 million paid over 18 years. Under state law, all of those funds will be used for opioid abatement purposes to support treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic, with eighty-five percent of those funds going directly into a dedicated opioid abatement trust fund. The remaining fifteen percent will be distributed to the 23 subdivisions that filed their own lawsuits against opioid companies prior to September 1, 2019, to be used for opioid abatement.
In addition to the funds, Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen will:
- Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors.
- Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies.
- Terminate customer pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show certain signs of diversion.
- Prohibit shipping of and report suspicious opioid orders.
- Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders.
- Require senior corporate officials to engage in regular oversight of anti-diversion efforts.
New Hampshire opted out of another national settlement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals and has filed its own complaint against those defendants that is pending in Merrimack County Superior Court. A trial is scheduled for September, 2022.
More information about the work of the Opioid Abatement Trust Fund Commission is available at: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bdas/opioid-abatement-trust-fund.htm.