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Eligible Municipalities Encouraged to Register for Participation in Historic Opioid Settlement

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is urging eligible municipalities to register and voluntarily participate in two historic opioid settlements that would bring nearly $800 million to Michigan over 18 years.  

The participation cutoff date for local governments to receive direct payments is Jan 2, 2022. 

"I encourage all of our state's eligible municipalities to register for this historic settlement," Nessel said. "This funding would support ongoing prevention and treatment efforts across the state, and I have long argued that much-needed financial support should be coming from those who created this crisis-not the communities suffering through it. Participation is vital to better equip those communities to address the crisis head on." 

The State formally signed on to the proposed multibillion-dollar national settlements in August, which is with Johnson & Johnson and the three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country: Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen.  

The historic agreements were announced in July and was the result of ongoing efforts to hold these companies responsible for their roles in contributing to the opioid epidemic gripping this country. 

Based on the settlement terms, there are 277 local units of government - called subdivisions in the settlement agreement - eligible to participate in Michigan. 

Each of Michigan's counties are part of that 277 total. Other municipalities are eligible if: 

  • the municipality is currently litigating against the defendants; or 
  • the municipality has a population of 10,000 people or more. 

The Department has a full list of eligible subdivisions on its website

Eligible subdivisions that have not yet registered are asked to email the Department for additional instructions. Again, the deadline is Jan. 2 to participate and receive direct payments. 

Michigan stands to receive up to nearly $800 million over the life of the settlements, which is dependent in part on participation of local governments. Spending priority would be placed on treatment and prevention. Only the 1998 national tobacco settlement has involved more dollars than this proposed settlement. 

Additional information on this historic settlement can be found on the Department's website.  

Since taking office, AG Nessel has prioritized combatting the opioid epidemic. Most recently Nessel joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in February to secure a $573 million settlement with one of the world's largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Co. Michigan is on the receiving end of $19.5 million in that settlement. Michigan has already received approximately $16 million of this money. 

SETTLEMENT BACKGROUND 

State negotiations were led by Attorneys General Josh Stein (NC), Herbert Slatery (TN) and the attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The agreement in principle was reached by all parties in October of 2019 and the parties have been working on the particulars of the settlement since then.   

Funding Overview:  

  • The three distributors collectively will pay up to $21 billion over 18 years.   
  • Johnson & Johnson will pay up to $5 billion over nine years with up to $3.7 billion paid during the first three years.    
  • The total funding distributed will be determined by the overall degree of participation by both litigating and non-litigating state and local governments.   
  • The substantial majority of the money is to be spent on opioid treatment and prevention.   
  • Each state's share of the funding has been determined by agreement among the states using a formula that takes into account the population of the state along with the impact of the crisis on the state - the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorder, and the number of opioids prescribed.   

Injunctive Relief Overview:  

  • Requires Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, through court orders, to:  
  • 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. 
  • Requires Johnson & Johnson, through court orders, 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.  

A breakdown of how the settlement money is to be spent on opioid treatment and prevention is available here

A national website has been created to provide additional information on the settlement. 

In addition to her legal actions against companies, AG Nessel serves on the Michigan Opioids Task Force. The group released its 2020 Annual Report in May, which noted opioid overdoses killed 1,768 Michiganders in 2019 - an average of almost five people every single day. If you or a loved one are in need of opioid addiction treatment, there are resources to help.  

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