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Virginia to receive $530M from opioid distributors, Johnson & Johnson

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Virginia is expected to receive more than half a billion dollars from opioid distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal, and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

In total, those three are on the hook for $26 billion that will go towards prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts in communities across the country. A majority of the up to approximately $530 million that Virginia is expected to receive will go towards the Commonwealth’s opioid abatement authority.

Additionally, the distributors have agreed to establish an independent clearinghouse that will track and monitor the number of opioids distributors send to healthcare providers and localities.

“The roots of the opioid crisis began in the marketing offices and board rooms of pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson and ran straight into the homes and medicine cabinets of Virginians. Distributors like McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal spread billions of doses of highly addictive opioids throughout our communities, helping to fuel a crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and upended the lives of Virginians in every corner of our Commonwealth,” Attorney General Mark Herring said.

“No dollar amount will ever be able to bring back the Virginians we have lost to this devastating epidemic, but we can at least dedicate our time and resources to preventing further loss through prevention, treatment, and recovery. Throughout my time as attorney general, one of my top priorities has been to go after the pharmaceutical and marketing companies that created and prolonged the deadly opioid crisis, and I will not stop until all those involved are held accountable,” Herring said.

McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal will pay up to $21 billion over an 18-year period to the participating states and localities, with Virginia expected to receive up to $427 million as its share of the agreement. Additionally, the distributors will establish an independent clearinghouse that will monitor and track the number of opioids distributors are sending to healthcare providers, in order to ensure that they are not sending more than the appropriate number to any certain area or provider.

An independent, third-party monitor will ensure that each distributor is complying with the terms of the proposed agreement.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, 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

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Johnson & Johnson will pay up to $5 billion over a nine-year period with up to $3.7 billion paid during the first three years. Virginia is expected to receive up to approximately $100 million as its share of the agreement. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson will:

  • 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.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press