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Johnson & Johnson, Pharmaceutical Distributors Agree To $26 Billion Opioid Lawsuit Settlement

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Johnson & Johnson, and three major pharmaceutical distributors, have agreed to a $26 billion settlement over claims they helped fuel the opioid crisis, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Once the settlement agreement with drug maker Johnson & Johnson, and distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, is approved by the court, the state of California, as well as its cities and counties, could start receiving funds aimed at fighting the opioid crisis as soon as this spring.

California is expected to receive $2.05 billion from the settlement, according to Bonta. Eighty-five percent of these funds will go directly to local communities to support treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic.

"Too many lives have been lost to opioid addiction, and the epidemic continues to plague our communities," he said in a statement. "This settlement will not only bring resources to our state, cities, and counties to help fund treatment and recovery, it will help prevent these companies from ever again engaging in the improper business practices that led to the ongoing crisis."

Fifty-two states and territories, as well as thousands of local governments across the country signed on to the agreement. The settlement's negotiations were led by Bonta, along with the attorneys general of North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Los Angeles could receive an amount in the tens of millions, according to LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, who sued six opioid manufacturers and three distributors in 2018.

"My goal is that the tens of millions of dollars we expect from this settlement for our City will target the intersection between substance abuse disorder and homelessness," Feuer said in a statement. "Though no amount of money can ever replace the lives lost and families shattered by opioid addiction in Los Angeles, this substantial settlement will help prevent future devastation."

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