Inside INdiana Business

State could receive $500M in opioid settlement

FILE - This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Indiana is set to receive more than $500 million as part of a $26 billion multi-state agreement with three opioid distributors and one manufacturer. Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office says the agreement with Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Johnson & Johnson also requires “significant industry changes” to prevent another opioid crisis from happening again.

Rokita’s office says the “substantial majority” of the money will be spent on opioid treatment and prevention.

“This $507 million settlement for the state of Indiana marks a massive step forward in our efforts to end the opioid epidemic and provide justice to countless Hoosier families torn apart by this crisis,” Rokita said in a news release. “While no amount of money will ever compensate for the loss and pain that’s resulted from the scourge of addiction across our state, this significant settlement will go a long way in preventing a crisis of this kind from ever happening again.”

In the fall of 2019, then-Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit against the three distributors. Rokita’s office says the agreement could resolve that lawsuit if the state signs the agreement within the 30-day time period, which is expected.

Indiana’s share of the settlement will be distributed among the state and local governments. Rokita’s office says local governments that are currently suing the companies were provided the ability to opt out of the state’s opioid plan and if they choose to do so, they have 60 days to opt back in. 

The $507 million figure will be awarded to Indiana if all local governments are on board. If they are not, Rokita says the state will collectively lose up to $238 million in opioid abatement funds.

“Earlier this year, I worked hand-in-hand with members of the Indiana General Assembly to ensure Indiana communities could take advantage of this settlement at the earliest opportunity it came,” said Rokita. “The settlement is structured so that communities will receive guaranteed money, rather than pursuing their own lawsuits and fighting against massive corporations and their lawyers for years to come with no guarantee of any payout. Any Indiana local elected official who has been advised otherwise should come back into the settlement now. Only by doing this will Indiana truly be able to make meaningful progress toward ending the opioid epidemic.”

The agreement comes about five months after Rokita’s office announced a $12.5 million settlement with McKinsey & Co. for its role in the opioid crisis.

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