Native American tribes reach $590 million settlement with big pharma companies

Attorneys representing about 70 percent of Native American tribes announced this week they have reached a settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and three drug distributors in a lawsuit over the disproportionate affect the opioid epidemic has had on their communities.

The settlement, announced on Tuesday, has not been finalized but has been agreed to in principle, according to the attorneys for the tribes. The terms of the settlement require Janssen Pharmaceuticals to pay out $150 million to tribal communities over two years.

It also requires three major drug distributors, AmerisourceBergen Corp., McKesson Corp., and Cardinal Health, Inc. to pay almost $440 million over seven years.

The suit alleges the companies helped fuel the opioid epidemic that ravaged tribal communities in recent years. The current rate of opioid overdoses in tribal communities is 13.7 deaths per 100,000 Native Americans, according to Tribal Epidemiology Center

“American Indians have suffered the highest per capita rate of opioid overdose,” said Douglas Yankton, Chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota, in a statement issued by the attorneys. “Given this, the dollars that will flow to Tribes under this initial settlement will help fund crucial, on-reservation, culturally appropriate opioid treatment services.”




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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