(Reuters) – Oklahoma has reached a $ 250 million deal with AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. to resolve allegations that drug distributors have contributed to the state’s opioid epidemic, Oklahoma’s Attorney General John O’Connor said Monday.
O’Connor said Oklahoma received more money back from distributors than the state would have received if it had agreed to a $ 26 billion nationwide deal announced last year.
The national settlement also includes Johnson & Johnson. Oklahoma sued J&J separately, but in November the case was dropped on appeal, denying a $ 465 million lawsuit and undermining Oklahoma’s legal theories in its opioid disputes.
AmerisourceBergen said that drug distributors have been forced to “follow a legal and ethical line”; without clearer regulatory guidance on how to protect consumers from legal but potentially dangerous drugs.
McKesson and Cardinal Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Oklahoma was the last state to bring opioid lawsuits against the three distributors. Alabama is still suing Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen after settling with McKesson. Local authorities in West Virginia are pursuing cases after the state is reconciled.
Oklahoma will use at least 85% of the funds to help alleviate the state’s opioid addiction crisis, according to O’Connor.
Distributors have denied crime in the epidemic, which has caused more than 500,000 U.S. overdose deaths in the past two decades, according to government data.