(Reuters) – The three largest US drug distributors will pay more than $ 75 million to resolve allegations that they ran an opioid epidemic in the Cherokee Nation area of Oklahoma, marking the first settlement with a tribal government in disputes over the US addiction crisis.
Cherokee Nation chief Chuck Hoskin on Tuesday said the settlement, which will be paid over 6-1 / 2 years, would "enable us to increase our investment in psychiatric care facilities and other programs to help our people recover" .
The deal announced by Cherokee Nation came after distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc., along with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, agreed to pay up to $ 26 billion to meet similar demands from states and local governments.
This settlement did not include any of the country's Indian tribes. The three distributors are in talks to resolve these issues, and other companies are facing similar lawsuits.
Distributors in a statement calling the deal "an important step toward reaching a broader deal with all federally recognized Native American tribes across the country." Companies deny wrongdoing.
Cherokee Nation became the first Native American tribe to sue drug distributors and pharmacy operators in 201
It accused distributors of flooding its territory with millions of prescription opioids, an overabundance of addictive painkillers that resulted in abuse and deaths that affected the Indians disproportionately. more than 3,300 similar lawsuits have been filed by states, counties, cities and tribal governments, with nearly 500,000 people dying from opioid overdoses in the United States from 1999 to 2019, according to the USCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Cherokee Nation, represented by the law firms Boies Schiller Flexner, Fields PLL C and Whitten Burrage, also sued the pharmacy operators CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Walmart Inc. They deny the crime.
Drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Endo International Plc said on Tuesday separately that they agreed to pay $ 15 million and $ 7.5 million, respectively, to resolve claims they contributed to the opioid epidemic in Louisiana. Teva will also donate drugs for $ 3 million. Catalog