Attorney General Phil Weiser announces final approval of $26 billion opioid agreement with drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson, Colorado to receive $385 million
Feb. 25, 2022 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced the final approval of the $26 billion opioid agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – and Johnson & Johnson.
The companies will start releasing funds to a national administrator on April 2, 2022. Money will start flowing to the state and local governments this summer or early fall. Colorado will receive $385 million. The Johnson & Johnson settlement dollars will be paid over nine years and the drug distributor settlement dollars will be paid over 18 years.
“Colorado has already laid the groundwork for distribution of these dollars, with all 64 counties and nearly all of our state’s municipalities poised to work together to address the opioid crisis in our state,” Weiser said. “I am grateful to local governments statewide for their commitment to protecting our residents and that they are, in many cases, already strategizing how these dollars can best serve their communities.”
The agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country. It is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Weiser led negotiations with Attorneys General Josh Stein of North Carolina and Herbert Slatery of Tennessee, and the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Fifty-two states and territories signed on to the agreement as well as thousands of local governments across the country.
In addition to providing funds to the States, Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen will:
- Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors.
- Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies.
- Terminate customer pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show certain signs of diversion.
- Prohibit shipping of and report suspicious opioid orders.
- Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders.
- Require senior corporate officials to engage in regular oversight of anti-diversion efforts.
Johnson & Johnson is required to:
- Stop selling opioids.
- Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids.
- Not lobby on activities related to opioids.
- Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.
For more information, please go to coag.gov/opioids.