Missouri Attorney General announces finalization of opioid settlement

Law and Settlement scroll with gavel

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that his Office has finalized opioid settlements with Johnson & Johnson and major opioid distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen.

The Attorney General was joined by families of victims of opioid overdose and representatives from treatment centers and nonprofits across the state. Combined, these settlements bring a total of roughly $458 million to the State of Missouri and political subdivisions for opioid treatment and abatement, one of the largest victim-centric settlements in the history of the State of Missouri. Further, there is a potential for approximately hundreds of millions in additional settlement money from litigation with Mallinckrodt and Purdue Pharma – more will be known about exact amounts as these cases continue forward.

“For years, the State of Missouri has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic, entire communities and neighborhoods crushed under the weight of opioid addiction and abuse. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and more have been lost to this vicious cycle. This settlement won’t bring our loved ones back, it won’t provide any solace for those losses, but it can bring desperately needed resources to treatment centers, rehab facilities, law enforcement, and others who are on the frontlines of fighting this opioid epidemic in our state,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “My Office has worked tirelessly for years to bring this historic settlement to fruition. From the beginning, we engaged stakeholders across the state to gauge the needs of different communities. We heard directly from victims of opioid addiction through our Real Opioid Pain Initiative to gain a critical perspective for these cases. We handled litigation internally to maximize settlement amounts for the people of Missouri. We aggressively pursued counties and political subdivisions to unlock the full amount of the potential settlement. Now, I’m pleased to deliver this historic, victim-centric settlement to help fund opioid abatement and treatment efforts across the state.”

In July of 2021, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced the preliminary settlement in the Office’s opioid litigation against Johnson & Johnson and major opioid distributors. In order to obtain the full amount of the settlement, the Office was required to obtain sign-on to the settlement from all of Missouri’s counties. Through the Fighting Addiction, Saving Lives program, the Office made a full-court press to get those to sign on.

In working with litigating and non-litigating counties, the Office has obtained that full sign-on, unlocking the full amount of the settlement and ensuring that victims of opioid abuse and their families get the resources they desperately need.

While other states opted to use outside counsel to litigate these cases, Missouri handled these cases internally, ensuring that all the money designated for the State of Missouri through these settlements goes directly to opioid abatement and treatment.

The Johnson & Johnson and Distributor settlement brings an estimated $458,000,000, with roughly $274,800,000 going to the State of Missouri, and $183,200,000 going to localities.

These settlements will be paid out over a term of 18 years, on a graduated scale that pays larger sums in early years and decreases over time.

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