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Mo. Attorney General announces more than $500M in preliminary opioid settlement with distributors

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 9:14 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 11:07 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced the state will receive approximately receive a little more than $500 million in an opioid settlement with a number of distributors, including Johnson & Johnson.

Schmitt was joined by families of victims of opioid abuse and overdose when he made the announcement in St. Louis on Thursday, July 22.

The attorney general said the total dollar amount is an estimate on what the state could receive.

The deal is in the preliminary stages.

If approved, it would be the largest victim settlement in state history.

Schmitt said Missouri could receive half the amount if others do not approve the deal. He explained there are some challenges involving other states and subdivisions signing off on the settlement.

Several states and local governments filed a suit in 2017 against the nation’s three biggest drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson to help pay to fix a nationwide opioid addiction and overdose crisis in the U.S.

Lawyers announced on Tuesday that they were on the verge of a $26 billion settlement.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. since 2000 have been linked to prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.

Opioid-related deaths reaches a record high in 2020.

Schmitt stated that 1,842 lost their lives to opioids last year in Missouri.

“Make no mistake about it, our lawsuit has always had a singular mission, attain justice for victims and the families of the victims of this decades long opioid epidemic that has been unleashed on the people of Missouri by callus pharmaceutical companies whose greed and indifference wrecked the lives of thousands and thousands of our neighbors and loved ones,” said Schmitt.

Under Missouri law, 100 percent of the funds in the settlement must go toward programs in battling the opioid crisis.

Distribution could happen as soon as Spring 2022.

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