Frosh: Maryland joins opioid settlements, could receive more than $500 million

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Maryland could receive more than $500 million as part of a settlement with the three largest distributors of opioid medications and Johnson & Johnson, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) said in a Wednesday press release.

In addition to Maryland, 41 other states, the District of Columbia and five territories are participating in the $26 billion settlement, according to the attorney general’s office. Reuters reported that the deal was originally unveiled by several state attorneys general in July and is designed to resolve thousands of opioid-related lawsuits against the distributors and Johnson & Johnson. The settlement is moving forward now that more states have signed on.

Maryland could receive up to $411.17 million from the three distributors — McKesson, AmeriSourceBergen and Cardinal Health — as part of the settlement, and up to $91.6 million from Johnson & Johnson, according to the AG’s office.

Distributors of opioids will also have to adopt “extensive monitoring and reporting programs to address suspicious orders and diversion of opioids” as part of the settlement, and Johnson & Johnson will stop selling opioids.

Frosh said in a news release that the funds received from the settlement will go toward combating opioid use and addiction in the state.

“No amount of money could ever compensate for the devastation wrought by the opioid epidemic,” Frosh said in the release, “but these settlements will bring much needed funds to address the harms Marylanders have suffered. The funds will provide addiction treatment, prevention, and other abatement programs across the State to help Marylanders recover.”

Exactly how much money Maryland will receive will depend “on the level of participation in the settlements by the state’s counties and municipalities,” according to the release. Counties and municipalities have until early January 2022 to join the settlements.

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