Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on Tuesday a resolution that three opioid distributors will pay more than $500 million to the state to combat the opioid epidemic.
A lawsuit was filed in March of 2019 accusing McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. of failing to alert law enforcement when they received suspicious opioid orders, and shipping those orders with little or no investigation, significantly contributing to the supply of opioids and fueling the state’s opioid epidemic.
Ferguson decided to reject the national settlement and take the distributors to trial.
As a result of the resolution, the three opioid distributors will pay a total of $518 million. More than $476 million will be directed toward addressing the opioid epidemic, according to a release from the AG office.
"We could have joined the overwhelming majority of states and settled with the largest opioid distributors, but we chose to fight them in court instead," Ferguson said.
"That decision to take them to court will result in significant additional resources for Washington to combat the opioid epidemic. These resources will increase prevention efforts and help Washingtonians in need, including providing necessary wrap-around services for those experiencing homelessness as a result of their substance abuse disorder. This is a historic resolution — one of the largest in state history. We forced these companies to stand trial for their conduct. Washingtonians will receive approximately one half billion dollars to combat the opioid epidemic — including $46 million more than Washington would have received if we had accepted the national settlement last year," Ferguson said.