AG Wilson announces details from settlement with major opioid distributors

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Help is on the way to combat the opioid crisis in South Carolina. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced details of a $26 billion settlement in his lawsuit against three major opioid distributors. Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen as well as Johnson & Johnson were listed in the suit.

Officials say South Carolina expects to receive more than $300 million over the next 18 years, starting in the second quarter of 2022. Wilson says the money will provide financial resources to help combat the Palmetto State’s opioid epidemic, including supporting treatment, recovery and harm reduction.

“These settlements will provide much-needed financial resources which will help combat South Carolina’s opioid epidemic,” noted Attorney General Wilson. “My Office looks forward to working with stakeholders around the state to ensure that these dollars have the greatest impact possible in each of our communities.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Cardinal and McKesson and Amerisource Bergen are required to do the following, in addition to the funds being paid:

  • “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.”

The Attorney General’s Office also says Johnson & Johnson is required to stop selling opiates, not fund grants for third parties selling opiates, not lobby on opiate related activities and they must share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

According to the Just Plain Killers campaign, more than 800 people died in 2019 from opioid overdoses in South Carolina.

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