Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a historic $26 billion agreement that will bring desperately needed relief to Texans who are struggling with opioid addiction. The agreement includes Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids. The agreement also requires significant industry changes that will help prevent this type of crisis from ever happening again.
“In 2020, 93,000 people died from opioid overdoses – nearly 30 percent more than the prior year. This number is significantly less than the number of families that have watched their loved ones’ lives be torn apart from addiction,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Many Texans suffer from addiction and need significant support and treatment to avoid becoming another statistic. My office will continue to hold the companies that contributed to this crisis accountable and ensure that sufficient funds flow to Texas to provide much needed relief to our citizens.”
Under the agreement, the State will have 30 days to decide whether to join the settlement. Texas could receive as much as $1.5 billion, the vast majority of which would be spent on opioid abatement pursuant to a new state law. The actual amount Texas receives will depend upon the participation of cities, counties, and other political subdivisions in the state. General Paxton previously announced an agreement with the subdivisions that have also been litigating against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that was based upon an agreed formula for distributing the settlement funds throughout the state and that also created a list of expert-approved abatement strategies to be deployed around the state.
Attorney General Paxton added, “I have appreciated the partnership we established many months ago in our effort to maximize recoveries for Texans. After years of our combined efforts, well over $1 billion is on the table that we can collectively use to provide meaningful relief to our citizens. It’s time for us to come together again as only Texans can, maximize our recovery, and take care of our citizens so that we can serve as an example for the rest of the country.”
Attorney General Paxton serves in the leadership of other ongoing negotiations to continue to add funding for these abatement efforts, including through the bankruptcy cases of manufacturers Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt. Both of those companies are expected to emerge from bankruptcy in the upcoming months and provide millions of additional dollars for opioid abatement.