(January 25, 2022, 6:50 PM EST) -- A trio of drug distributors will pony up almost $91 million to settle allegations from Rhode Island that they helped fuel the opioid crisis, according to a Tuesday announcement from Ocean State officials.
AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. have together inked a $90.8 million settlement with Rhode Island to settle its opioid claims, according to officials including state Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.
"Through this settlement, we can bring in much-needed funding to the state and municipalities to respond to the challenges brought on by this epidemic, which have grown particularly acute during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said in a statement. "We've already seen the kind of powerful benefits funding like this can bring to our state."
The deal announced Tuesday resolves the state's claims against the three distributors, and is outside the scope of a $21 billion nationwide settlement with distributors that other states have become a part of.
The proposed national agreement is aimed at ending thousands of lawsuits filed by states and local governments and is geared overwhelmingly toward treatment and prevention of opioid abuse. It calls for Johnson & Johnson to fork over $5 billion and continue sharing clinical trial data with Yale University. It also calls for the distributors — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — to shell out $21 billion and create a clearinghouse with data on their future opioid sales.
A spokesperson for the Rhode Island attorney general's office confirmed to Law360 on Tuesday that the state was not taking part in that nationwide deal.
Rhode Island's announcement said that with the $90.8 million deal, it will now see about $114 million in opioid recovery funds, as it has also inked deals with Johnson & Johnson and McKinsey & Co.
In a statement to Law360 on Tuesday, AmerisourceBergen said it was "pleased to see the increased commitment to participation in the global settlement process, which will both expedite the flow of resources to communities impacted by the crisis while enabling the company to focus on ensuring the pharmaceutical supply chain is meeting the needs of health care providers and patients across the nation."
Representatives for Cardinal Health and McKesson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Rhode Island is represented by Adi Goldstein, Miriam Weizenbaum, Kate Sabatini, Dan Sutton and Neil F.X. Kelly of its Attorney General's Office, and Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Robert J. McConnell, Vincent Greene, Kate E. Menard, Linda Singer and Donald Migliori of Motley Rice LLC.
AmerisourceBergen is represented by Shannon E. McClure, Louis W. Schack and Neil Hlawatsch of Reed Smith LLP, and Gerald J. Petros and Mitchell R. Edwards of Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP.
Counsel information for other defendants was not immediately available.
The case is State of Rhode Island v. Purdue Pharma et al., case number PC-2018-4555, in the Rhode Island Superior Court.
--Additional reporting by Jeff Overley and Emily Field. Editing by Adam LoBelia.