Yates, Schuyler consider opioid settlement
FINGER LAKES--Both Yates and Schuyler Counties are scheduled to hold meetings this week to approve New York state's settlements and sharing agreements regarding opioid sales and marketing. These settlements relate to Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc. which are often referred to collectively as J & J. The settlement agreement was initially announced by New York Attorney General Letitia James in June this year. A subsequent agreement in July with three additional distributors will end up providing another $1.1 billion to treat and prevent opioid use in the state.
"The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communities across New York state and the rest of the nation, leaving millions still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids," said James when the deal with J & J was announced. "While no amount of money will ever compensate for the thousands who lost their lives or became addicted to opioids across our state or provide solace to the countless families torn apart by this crisis, these funds will be used to prevent any future devastation."
While the settlement has been approved, it can not officially take effect until it is approved by county legislatures across the state and accepted by the court. To that end, Yates County has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 7 and Schuyler has scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 8 to consider resolutions that would accept the funding. The results of these meetings will occur after press time for this edition.
The Yates County resolution says "J & J has offered to settle the county's claims against it by paying the sum of between approximately $61,776.44 and $144,172.34 over ten (10) years to be used for restitution and abatement, and agreeing to not manufacture, sell or promote opioids.
Schuyler County's reads similarly with a settlement of "between approximately $51,893.44 and $121,107.00 over ten (10) years."
The action against J & J claims the companies "contributed to the opioid epidemic by falsely promoting prescription opioids it manufactured and sold and by falsely promoting the increased use of opioids directly and generally through various "front groups" and failing to implement measures to prevent diversion of prescription opioids in connection with distribution of its products, all of which contributed to a public health crisis in the county."
The law firm of Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC is serving the counties in the action.
The attorney general reported under the most aggressive schedule, the first three years of payments -- totaling $134,330,271.65 -- will be accelerated and paid as soon as February of 2022. J & J has also committed to end the manufacture and sale of all opioids and opioid products for distribution in the state of New York, as well as to no longer ship these products anywhere within the United States.
Ongoing litigation is occurring in the state regarding additional monetary penalties to opioid manufactures and distributors.