State prosecutors are finding a national agreement on the opioid toll elusive, as some lawyers for state and local governments are renewing public criticism of the proposed agreement with a group of companies led by the nation’s largest drug distributors.
A group of prominent state attorneys announced the framework in October for a deal that they said would be worth about $ 48 billion in cash, drugs and treatment services over time.
At the time, some advocates general and lawyers for local governments criticized him. They are talking again as the push continues to reach an agreement, with an opiate trial starting in New York next month.
In a statement on Friday, Patrick Morrisey, the West Virginia attorney general, one of the states most affected by the opiate crisis, said the $ 22 billion in cash offered by distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson and the pharmacist Johnson & Johnson “are the right way too low.”
Under previously announced terms, Teva Pharmaceuticals would also provide a drug for the treatment of addiction free of charge and other companies would distribute it.
Morrisey also said that the money would not be fairly distributed according to the plan as it was because the states’ quotas would be based too much on the population and not enough on the impact of the crisis.
“When dealing with a national public health crisis, a global deal shouldn’t be about a mere taking of money for states,” he said. “The money should be directed to those who need it most and spent on the killing.”
His statement showed that at least some attorneys general remained determined not to accept the offer a week after 21 of them signed a letter stating that they opposed the agreement as offered.
Leading attorneys from over 2,500 local governments suing the pharmaceutical industry said on Friday that the companies offered $ 1.2 billion in additional cash in 18 years. The lawyers said it is not enough: “There are doubts that the proposed total value is not adequate nor does it guarantee in any way that the resources reach the communities”.
Prosecutors general of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, who supported the settlement in October, said it was better to enter into a national deal than to see the money disappear fragmentarily – as long as it lasts – through trials. judicial.
Prescription and illicit painkillers have been linked to over 430,000 deaths in the United States in the past two decades and have created financial burdens for families who have lost revenue and governments who have seen public service spending increase while trying to deal with the crisis.
The offices of several prosecutors-general who supported the deal either declined comments or sent messages.
The companies also did not respond to the messages or comment on Friday evening.
Earlier this week, McKesson said in a statement that he was seeking to finalize a settlement agreement “that would serve as the best way forward to provide billions of dollars in immediate funding and aid to states and local communities.”