Johnson & Jonshon, the big American pharmaceutical company has signed an agreement with three of the largest drug distributors in the United States for $ 26 billion with several states to close the thousands of lawsuits they are facing due to the opioid crisis.
The accusation is that it did not carry out a strong warning campaign on the risk of opioid addiction. This “guilty” misinformation has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans in recent years and created an avalanche of drug addicts.
Once the pact is ratified by state and local governments, the funds will be used to fund addiction prevention and treatment services in affected communities.
In addition to Johnson & Johnson, the agreement includes other companies such as Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson, three distribution giants in the United States, but the rest of the pharmaceutical sector is still far from any kind of agreement with the population and the authorities.
One of the drugs that wreaked havoc was fentanyl, which is believed to be up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen not only started the fire, but fueled it by developing opiate addictions for more than two decades.
New York State Attorney General Letitita James announced the deal along with attorneys general from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Louisiana.
Distributors will contribute 21 billion and J&J with 5 billion.
Other lawsuits are pending between some states and companies like Teva or Allegran, and retail chains like CVS or Walgreens, also defendants, are seeking agreements to avoid legal action.
Purdue Pharma, one of the major companies in this crisis for painkiller manufacturing, OxyContin, pleaded guilty to misinformation in October 2020 and agreed to pay $ 8.3 billion. But being bankrupt it will be very difficult to honor the debt.
According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the United States published this week in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, more than 93,000 people in the United States died from overdoses.
A 29% increase over the 2019 figure. Of the 93,000 deaths, about 70,000 were due to opioid overdose.