Opioid Settlement Planning

About the Settlements

On February 25, 2022, manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the “big three” distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health finalized a $26 billion opioid settlement agreement to resolve their liabilities in over 3,000 opioid crisis-related suits nationwide.

The proposed settlements require that Johnson and Johnson and the distributors pay $26 billion over 18 years, with approximately $22.7 billion available to state and local governments to address the opioid epidemic.

The settlement comes as a result of investigations by state attorneys general into whether the three distributors fulfilled their legal duty to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.

In addition to the funds, Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen will:

  • 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.

Johnson & Johnson is required to:

  • Stop selling opioids.
  • Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids.
  • Not lobby on activities related to opioids.
  • Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

Fifty-two states and territories have signed on to the settlement, as well as thousands of local governments across the country. This is the second-largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

More information: https://nationalopioidsettlement.com/

One Arizona Distribution Agreement

In August 2021, Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that 90 cities and towns and all 15 counties signed on to a framework called the One Arizona Memorandum of Understanding (One Arizona Plan) to distribute funds across Arizona from national opioid settlements.

As part of the $26 billion national settlement agreement, Arizona and its political subdivisions will receive $542 million over 18 years. Maricopa County’s share in the settlement is estimated to be $80 million.

The One Arizona Plan provides funding for programs to address and ameliorate opioid abuse, and includes reporting requirements for greater transparency of how money is used. As outlined in the Plan:

  • 56% of the total state settlement goes to local governments for opioid amelioration programs.
  • 44% of the total settlement goes to a State fund for opioid amelioration programs.
  • Funds must be spent in accordance with approved, nationally recognized strategies to pay for future costs incurred by the State and local governments to address the opioid epidemic. Approved uses include expenses related to the treatment of opioid use disorder, support for people in treatment and recovery, support for people who have or are at risk of developing opioid use disorder, and prevention of overuse and misuse of opioids.
  • Transparent reporting requirements for fund usage to ensure compliance with approved purposes.
  • Flexibility for local governments to pool resources to increase the impact of settlement funds.

These funds will be available starting in 2022 to support substance use treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other life-saving programs and services.

County Planning

This webpage will be updated as more information becomes available.

Contact Us

Shilpika Devarachetty
Substance Use Strategic Initiatives Project Manager
s.devarachetty@maricopa.gov