Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and the Office of Law announced its participation in national settlement agreements with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and the three largest distributors of opioids: Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. The county’s participation in the agreements is estimated to provide the county with roughly $30 million over 18 years for the County’s opioid efforts.
Anne Arundel County was the first jurisdiction in Maryland to file suit in January of 2018 against the major opioid manufacturers, distributors, as well as other defendants associated with the opioid crisis. The county elected to participate in the national settlement agreements proposed by Johnson & Johnson ($5 billion nationally) and Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen ($21 billion).
Under the terms of both agreements, the settlement monies for all jurisdictions in Maryland flow through the State of Maryland. The Office of Law participated in a workgroup that negotiated on behalf of the counties with the Office of the Attorney General to reach an agreement with the companies.
“We are pleased that the resolution of the County’s lawsuit against the distributors and Johnson & Johnson has resulted in substantial funds that may be utilized to combat the opioid crisis for many years to come,” County Attorney Greg Swain said.
The national agreement provides for the distribution of settlement proceeds over 18 years for the distributors and nine years for Johnson & Johnson. The monies are distributed to the states and qualifying subdivisions based upon population, metrics measuring the impact of the opioid crisis, and the level of health-related funding in the subdivision.
The total amount estimated to be paid under the terms of the settlement to the State of Maryland and all qualifying subdivisions in Maryland is a maximum of approximately $395 million. It is estimated that Anne Arundel County’s share based on the metrics described above will be approximately $29 to $31 million paid over 18 years. The bulk of the settlement funds must be utilized to address opioid disease issues.
The first payments will be made by the distributors in April, and Johnson & Johnson in July. Elements of the settlement will likely be required to pass through the General Assembly to reconcile the funding distribution and allowable use provisions.