NewsCovering Kentucky


AG Cameron announces $483 million opioid settlement with drug distributors, Johnson & Johnson

Posted at 5:08 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 17:55:28-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Friday, Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that Kentucky will receive $483 million for programs to address the opioid epidemic. The money is part of a historic $26 billion settlement with opioid distributors and a manufacturer.

"Starting this spring, Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson will begin compensating Kentucky for creating and fueling the opioid epidemic," said Cameron.

"It's time to get real dollars in the door to heal our communities that have been ravaged by this poison," he added.

Tayler Niece, who struggled with opioids for many years, believes this money will do a lot of good.

"I came out here today to share my story so other people, and other people like me, know that there is help," she said.

Niece explained that opioids quickly ruined many years of her life. She says recovery was not easy.

"It destroyed mine and it destroyed it fast," said Niece.

"After seven rehabs and praying every single day, laying on those cold, hard jail floors for ten years - I finally accepted myself for who I was and what I had done," she added.

According to the Attorney General's Office, the agreement marks the culmination of 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.

Kentucky's portion of the settlement will be overseen by the Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission. The group is expected to establish a process for eligible opioid abatement programs to apply for settlement dollars.

In addition to the settlement funds, Cardinal Health, 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.
  • Report and prohibit shipping of 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.