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Baltimore reaches $45M settlement with pharmaceutical company over its role in opioid epidemic

Baltimore reaches $45M settlement with pharmaceutical company over opioid role
Baltimore reaches $45M settlement with pharmaceutical company over opioid role 03:02

BALTIMORE -- The City of Baltimore struck a $45 million deal with pharmaceutical giant Allergan in a lawsuit over the company's role in the opioid epidemic, the mayor's office announced Monday.

The settlement is bigger than Maryland's $38 million deal with the company earlier this year. The state's deal will be spread over seven years, while Baltimore's is a lump sum to be paid within 30 days. 

A board will oversee how the opioid settlement money is spent. In its agreement, the city committed to using at least $5 million for the Peer Navigator Program and $5 million for Charm City Care Connection.

Both programs serve those seeking support in recovery from substance misuse. 

There will also be a board dedicated to overseeing how the opioid settlement money is spent. 

"We are fully aware of the devastating toll that the actions of these defendants have taken on our City, and we have shown our commitment to ensuring that they pay their fair share to tackle the harms they have left in the wake of their greed," Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. "We are committed to ensuring that every penny of this and any other amount recovered is put to its most effective and best use to combat the opioid epidemic in Baltimore City at all levels."  

Allergan's two opioid drugs-- Kadian and Norco -- made up less than half a percent of the opioids sent to Baltimore pharmacies, the city said. 

"The defendants remaining in the City's lawsuit were responsible for over 80% of the opioids targeted at Baltimore pharmacies, meaning this settlement with Allergan confirms the multi-billion-dollar value of the City's entire case," the mayor's office said. 

Dr. Eric Weintraub, who practices at the University of Maryland Addiction Center, has seen the evolution of the opioid epidemic in the city firsthand. 

"It can really make a huge difference," Weintraub said. "If this is just the beginning of some of the monies that can come in, we can really put our heads together, the stakeholders of Baltimore City working with the city and the state to make a difference and really reduce overdoses."

Although the road to recovery may be winding, Weintraub says this is a step in the right direction.

"People that misuse drugs are human beings just like all of us," Weintraub said. "They want the same things out of life that we all do and that's a loving relationship, stable environment to live in, supportive environment and a community to be a part of."

The remaining defendants are Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergenWalgreensCVS, Teva, and former Insys CEO John Kapoor

The case is set to go to trial On Sept. 16. 

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