Opioid settlement expected to net $400M for Wisconsin

4 Companies On Verge Of Settling Us Opioid Lawsuits
Mark Lennihan

FILE - This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills in New York. The three biggest U.S. drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson are on the verge of a $26 billion settlement covering thousands of lawsuits over the toll of opioids across the U.S., two people with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press. The settlement involving AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson is expected this week. A $1 billion-plus deal involving the three distributors and the state of New York was planned for Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin is set to receive about $400 million as part of a proposed $26 billion national legal settlement over the opioid crisis, Attorney General Josh Kaul announced Wednesday.

The agreement is designed to settle investigations and litigation over whether U.S. drug distribution companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson fulfilled their legal duty to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders, Kaul said. The settlement also would resolve allegations that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioids, he said.

The settlement calls for Johnson & Johnson to pay up to $5 billion, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health to each contribute $6.4 billion, and McKesson to pay $7.9 billion.

Additionally, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to stop selling opioids and the distributors have agreed to establish an independent clearinghouse that will track the amount of opioids they send to health care providers and localities.

Kaul said the state Department of Justice is reviewing the final details of the settlement and will indicate whether Wisconsin will join it by Aug. 20.

Kaul announced earlier this month that Wisconsin is in line to receive $65 million as part of a $4.3 billion multistate settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma. That deal is meant to resolve allegations that the company downplayed Oxycontin risks.