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South Carolina announces how much it will receive from $26 billion opioid agreement

South Carolina had joined others in the suit against pharmaceutical distributors and Johnson & Johnson for their part in creating an opioid crisis in the U.S.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The state of South Carolina will receive over $300 million as a result of an agreement reached in a multi-state suit against three top pharmaceutical distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. 

Overall, more than 4,000 claims from states and municipalities across America will benefit from the $26 billion opioid agreement, the second-largest multi-state agreement in U.S. history (the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement being the biggest).

Defendants in this case -- including all 46 counties in South Carolina and 43 eligible municipalities -- will begin to see funds from distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, and from Johnson & Johnson during the second quarter of 2022.

In South Carolina, 92% of the funds will be used to directly address the opioid crisis in South Carolina, including by supporting treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other strategies.

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.

According to the settlement, 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

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