New York Daily News

Pharma firms to pay city $1B in opioid suit


ALBANY — A trio of major pharmaceut­ical distributo­rs has agreed to pay New York $1.1 billion as part of a legal effort to hold drug companies accountabl­e for their role in the opioid epidemic, Attorney General Letitia James’ office announced Tuesday.

The deal reached with McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and Amerisourc­eBergen Drug Corp. is the largest negotiated by James’ office so far with companies accused of fueling opioid addiction nationwide.

“For more than two decades, the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communitie­s throughout New York and across the rest of the nation, killing hundreds of thousands of our friends and family members and addicting millions more,” James said in a statement. “While no amount of money will ever compensate for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, or the countless communitie­s decimated by opioids, this money will be vital in preventing any future devastatio­n.”

James filed a sweeping lawsuit in 2019 against drugmakers and distributo­rs, seeking accountabi­lity for the opioid epidemic and overdoses. Several of the companies have agreed to settle but not admit fault for their role in the crisis.

New York has already negotiated settlement­s with Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma as part of the same lawsuit, which is the subject of an ongoing trial in Suffolk County.

Johnson & Johnson’s settlement netted $230 million for the state’s opioid prevention and treatment efforts, and the company agreed to end the sale of opioids nationwide.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, reached a $4.5 billion multistate deal earlier this month that will mean at least another $200 million for New York.

James said the money from the deal with the three distributo­rs, to be paid in 18 annual installmen­ts, will also go to opioid addiction treatment and prevention, as well as recovery services.

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