(The Center Square) – Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford says the state will change course on its plans to go it alone in a lawsuit against prominent opioid manufacturers.
Nevada will join in with the majority of other states for a share of a $26 billion proposed settlement with major drug distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health and Johnson & Johnson.
The settlement consolidates more than 3,000 lawsuits against the companies for their role in manufacturing opioids and downplaying the risk that led to hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths over the last two decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 841,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose, most coming from opioids.
"There is no question that the opioid epidemic has devastated Nevada and money is needed now to address comprehensive statewide remediation," Ford said in a statement.
Nevada will receive almost $285.2 million for the fight against the opioid epidemic, Ford’s office said Tuesday. As part of the settlement, the respective companies admit no wrongdoing and receive levels of immunity from new lawsuits from participating entities.
“The money will come from three sources: a settlement with the three largest opioid distributors; an agreement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies; and a DOJ grant to increase rural counties’ access to mitigation and health programs,” the AGO said in a release.
Nearly two dozen state attorneys general initially struck the deal in July. Nevada – along with New Mexico, Oklahoma, Washington and West Virginia – initially objected to the settlement. New Mexico joined the class action suit in December.
“While no settlement will bring back those lost to opioids, these funds will be used to prevent further loss of life and help heal Nevada’s families,” Ford said.
According to Reuters, other municipalities have until Jan. 26 to join the class action lawsuit.