50 PA Counties Sign Off On $1 Billion Opioid Settlement

Patch – by Eric Heyl

HARRISBURG, PA — Fifty of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have agreed to an opioid legal settlement with drug manufacturers, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday. The agreement, signed off on by 5 of the 6 largest counties in the state, will bring more than $1 billion Pennsylvania – including an initial $232 million in 2022.

The $26 billion global settlement with Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen—the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors—and Johnson & Johnson mandates industry changes in addition to the funds. The settlement, first announced in July, resolves the claims of states and local governments across the country in state and federal courts.

“Pennsylvania lost 5,172 lives to overdoses in the last year alone, which is 14 Pennsylvanians a day,” Shapiro said in a news release. “This settlement is going to provide resources to jump-start programs that will change lives and impact families across our commonwealth who are struggling to find treatment and help for those suffering with substance abuse.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said that when the county filed its lawsuit in 2018, it sought to keep companies from engaging in practices that led to the opioid crisis and provide additional resources to those impacted the most by the companies’ actions.

“We want our our residents to benefit from that agreement and have resources available to them now and intend to sign on,” he said.

Delaware County councilman Kevin Madden said that while no money can truly account for the lives that opioids have ruined, “These settlement settlement funds to be received over the next decade and beyond will allow the county to educate its citizens and help remediate the scourge of opioid abuse and the devastation it causes for thousands of residents and their loved ones.”

The state’s remaining 17 counties and other subdivisions have until next month to sign on, and Shapiro urged them to do so quickly.

One that might not is Philadelphia, the state’s largest county, where District Attorney Larry Krasner has called the settlement a sellout and said it won’t give Philadelphia enough money to effectively combat the opioid epidemic.

Krasner has filed filed a lawsuit a lawsuit against the same companies and sued Shapiro in July, asking Commonwealth Court to rule that Shapiro can’t negate Krasner’s lawsuit via a statewide settlement.

The following counties have joined the settlement agreement: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Luzerne, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Perry, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, and York.

Patch

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