Drug distributors strike first opioid deal with Native American tribe for $ 75 million
Sept. 28 (Reuters) – America’s three largest drug distributors will pay more than $ 75 million to resolve allegations they fueled an opioid epidemic in the Cherokee Nation territory of Oklahoma, marking the first settlement with a tribal government in the US drug crisis litigation.
Cherokee Nation Senior Chief Chuck Hoskin said Tuesday that the settlement, which will be paid over 6.5 years, “would allow us to increase our investments in mental health treatment facilities and other programs for help our people to recover â.
The deal announced by the Cherokee Nation came after distributors McKesson Corp (MCK.N), AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N) and Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N), as well as drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ .N), have agreed to pay up to $ 26 billion to resolve similar claims by states and local governments. Read more
This settlement did not cover any of the Native American tribes in the country. The three distributors are in talks to resolve the cases, and other companies continue to face similar lawsuits.
Drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA) and Endo International Plc (ENDP.O) said separately on Tuesday that they had agreed to pay $ 15 million and $ 7.5 million, respectively, to resolve the issues. claims they contributed to the opioid epidemic in Louisiana. Teva will also donate $ 3 million worth of drugs.
Distributors in a statement called the agreement “an important step towards a broader settlement with all federally recognized Native American tribes across the country.” Businesses deny wrongdoing.
The Cherokee Nation became the first Native American tribe to sue drug distributors and pharmacists in 2017. Sovereign Cherokee Nation has over 390,000 citizens.
He accused distributors of flooding his territory with millions of prescription opioid pills, an oversupply of addictive pain relievers that resulted in abuse and overdose deaths that disproportionately affected Native Americans.
Over 3,300 similar lawsuits have been filed by states, counties, cities and tribal governments. Nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the United States from 1999 to 2019, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Cherokee Nation, represented by law firms Boies Schiller Flexner, Fields PLLC and Whitten Burrage, also sued pharmacy operators CVS Health (CVS.N), Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) and Walmart Inc (WMT .NOT). They deny wrongdoing.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston Editing by Bill Berkrot
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