Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says Missouri intends to sign a term sheet offered by Johnson and Johnson and drug distributors that offers a settlement to several states who had brought about a lawsuit claiming that they had fueled the opiod crisis.
Under the proposed settlement, Johnson & Johnson will pay out $5 billion in total to all states that agree to the terms, and the distributors will pay out $21 billion in total to all states that agree to the terms. In total, Missouri could potentially receive just over half a billion dollars combined through these settlements if all subdivisions sign-on. Without subdivision sign-on, that settlement number would be cut in half.
The entire share of the State’s portion of the fund will go into a legislatively-created opioid abatement and treatment fund, to be used by the Departments of Mental Health, Social Services, Health and Senior Services, and Public Safety, to fund existing programs, including prevention, education, intervention, and recovery programs in addition to treatment resources. None of the State’s portion of the settlement will go to attorney’s fees – all money will go directly to abatement. Missouri is one of very few states which did not use outside counsel to litigate these cases. Missouri’s case has been litigated by assistant attorneys general.
The attorneys general have 30 days to sign on to the term sheets, and Missouri intends to sign both term sheets. Then, attorneys general then have approximately 120 days to achieve sign-on from subdivisions that would trigger incentive payments.
To achieve those incentives, Attorney General Schmitt launched the “Fighting Addiction, Saving Lives” initiative to push for subdivisions/counties to sign-on to the settlement so that Missouri gets a maximum payment.
The three drug distributors offering the settlement include McKesson, Amerisource Bergen, and Cardinal Health.