Dare County accepts opioid settlement agreement

Published 7:56 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

After a Nov. 15 closed door meeting, Dare commissioners voted to approve the Nationwide Opioid Settlement Agreement, which resolves all opioid litigation brought by state and local governments against the three largest drug distributors and one manufacturer.

The distributors are McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen and the manufacturer is Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its parent company Johnson & Johnson.

On Sept. 7, 2021, Dare commissioners agreed to sign a Memorandum of Agreement, which spells out how settlement funds will be used in North Carolina: 15% to the state (which the General Assembly would have authority to appropriate on a wide range of strategies to address the epidemic; 80% to local governments, including all 100 counties plus 17 municipalities, allocated among those counties and municipalities through a formula developed by attorneys representing local governments in national litigation; and an additional 5% percent into an incentive fund for any county (and any municipality in that county slated to receive settlement funds) in which the county itself and every municipality with at least 30,000 residents (based on 2019 population totals) in the county signs the state’s Memorandum of Agreement.

Signing the Memorandum of Agreement was a precursor to participating in the settlement agreement.

On Nov. 15, Dare’s county manager Robert L. Outten said the exact figure coming to Dare County is unknown at this time but is estimated to be around $8 million over time.

State estimates of settlement amount range between $750 and $850 million.

The three distributors will pay $21 billion over 18 years, J&J will pay $5 billion over no more than nine years, for a total of $26 billion.

About $22.8 billion in settlement proceeds is payable to participating states and subdivisions. Ten percent will be paid to private attorneys representing states and local government units.

The bulk of the funding, 85 percent, is restricted in use to abatement efforts by state and local governments.

Pre-approved abatement actions are spelled out in the settlement agreement.

States may see funds as early as April 2022.

Regarding Purdue-Pharma, the maker of Oxy-Contin, a settlement agreement was announced Sept.1, 2021 in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, agreed to pay more than $4.5 billion to settle lawsuits across the states. The family agreed to give up ownership of the company, which is prohibited from making opioids worldwide. The drug maker will be reorganized into a new charity-oriented company, reported Associated Press on Sept. 1, 2021.

The settlement also sets up a compensation fund that will pay some victims of drugs.

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