DENVER – Colorado’s attorney general announced Friday that the national settlement agreement with three opioid distributors that will send $385 million to Colorado was finalized and that the money should start coming in this summer or early fall.
The finalization of the settlements with pharmaceutical distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson comes after years of negotiations after thousands of lawsuits were filed over the opioid epidemic.
Colorado will receive the $385 million out of the full $26 billion package after all 64 counties in the state and most of Colorado’s municipalities agreed to a framework on how to divide the money up, which Weiser announced in January.
According to the attorney general’s office, the settlement is the second-largest multistate agreement in U.S. history behind the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Fifty-two states and territories were involved.
“I am grateful to local governments statewide for their commitment to protecting our residents and that they are, in many cases, already strategizing how these dollars can best serve their communities,” Weiser said in a statement.
Under the memorandum of understanding reached between Weiser’s office and local governments, the state is split up into 19 regions, which will receive 60% of the settlement money. Each region will have boards comprised of local government officials that will work to decide on how to best utilize the money for their areas when it comes to helping stem the opioid crisis.
Twenty percent of the funds will go to local governments that have signed on to the agreement, though those local governments will be able to choose to allocate their respective money to the county or region in which they are included.
Ten percent will be put in an infrastructure fund to help build up programs and facilities in regions that lack them, and the final 10% will be managed by the attorney general’s office and be put toward prevention and education programs, among other things.
As terms of the agreement, Johnson & Johnson will stop selling opioids, no lobby on opioid-related activities, and not fund or give grant money to third parties for the purpose of promoting opioids.
Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen will have to create a clearinghouse for data on the flow of drugs around the country, work to better detect suspicious opioid orders from pharmacies, halt suspicious opioid orders and other oversight-related matters.
The money from the Johnson & Johnson settlement will be paid over 9 years while the settlement with the distributors will be paid out over 18 years.