Four pharmaceutical firms reached a $26B settlement with the attorneys general of 15 states over America's opioid epidemic. Johnson & Johnson will pay $5B, while the three largest drug distributors in the U.S. (McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen Corp) will pay a combined $21B.
- States have 30 days to decide whether to sign the deal, while local governments have 150 days.
- The final settlement amount depends on how many governments agree to suspend lawsuits in which they blame pharma companies and distributors for the opioid epidemic.
- The funds are expected to be allocated towards treating addiction, supporting families, education, and other social programs.
- Connecticut's Attorney General said, "there's not enough money in the world, frankly, to address the pain and suffering."
- It is the second-largest cash settlement ever, after 1998's $246B Big Tobacco agreement.