Health & Science

Texas to receive nearly $1.2 billion through latest opioid settlement with pharmaceutical companies

The money is part of a $26 billion agreement including several other states.

Keith Srakocic / AP
This June 17, 2019, file photo shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that the state had reached a nearly $1.2 billion opioid settlement with three of the nation's top pharmaceutical distributors: Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. He said they were sued "for their role in creating and fueling the nationwide opioid epidemic."

It's part of a $26 billion agreement with other states, including California, Florida, Georgia, and New York. Paxton said this money will be distributed to communities throughout Texas through a council.

"We wanted to make sure this money went to the crisis, that it didn't end up in the general revenue where it would be spent on all kinds of good things, but we wanted to address this," said Paxton during a press conference. "So, the Attorneys General across the country put together this opioid council, and in our state, we've appointed different people to do that. The Governor has, I have, and others have."

Tammy Mahan is one of the people named to the council. She's the CEO of LifePath Systems, which is Collin County's local behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities authority and provider. The nonprofit also provides substance abuse services to those in need.

Mahan joined Paxton Wednesday in announcing the settlement at LifePath's McKinney facility. She said she's excited that this will help increase access to "all sorts of treatments" for opioid addiction.

"Collin County is no different than any other county across Texas and the nation that's been dealing with this opioid crisis," Mahan said. "These funds will have a significant impact on the people we serve."

In addition to working with other states on the deal, the AG's office partnered with county judges across Texas, along with local officials from Collin, Dallas, Bexar, Harris, and Tarrant counties.

"Bexar County is pleased to have worked alongside Dallas County, the State of Texas, and other Texas litigating subdivisions to secure this historic Texas settlement with the three big distributors of opioids in Texas," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said, in a statement.

In a similar statement, Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee praised the agreement, saying "this is another step in holding companies accountable for their role in the opioid crisis."

"Too many communities have dealt with incredible losses, and this settlement helps move us toward recovery," he added. "I'm pleased that these funds will be distributed to counties and cities across the state to help fight this epidemic and begin the healing process for many people."

According to the State Attorney General's office, this is Paxton’s fifth statewide opioid settlement. Previous ones include a $225 million settlement Paxton announced last week with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. There was also a $290 million agreement with Johnson & Johnson announced last year.

Paxton said the money will be distributed over time.

"So, we got a big chunk now," added Paxton. "We got a big chunk from Johnson & Johnson, but we also have money coming in over the next 18 years."

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