COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced a settlement agreement between the state and the three largest opioid distributors during a briefing on Thursday afternoon.
“This is a historic day for Ohio,” Yost said. “We have $800 million coming to Ohio to fix this mess – what lawyers call ‘abatement.’”
The “OneOhio” settlement agreement brings a resolution to the litigation with the three largest distributors of opioids – Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. In order for the deal to be finalized, the state was required to have the support of local governments representing at least 95% of its population. Yost said Thursday all but one of the litigating communities had signed on.
The three distributors and Johnson & Johnson agreed to a $26 billion nationwide settlement for their roles in the opioid epidemic in July.
Under the settlement, Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen will fund roughly $808 million in treatment and prevention programs across Ohio.
Of those funds, 55% would directly go toward a foundation that benefits Ohio communities. An additional 30% would directly fund local community recovery programs, while 15% would go toward the state of Ohio for legal representation purposes.
Yost says Ohio's deal is better than the national settlement with the opioid distributors because the companies agreed to pay the state’s attorney fees on top of the settlement, meaning the settlement amount will not be reduced by legal fees.
Under the agreement, Ohio cities and counties will begin receiving compensation as early as November, and the money is guaranteed even if the national agreement doesn’t come to fruition.
The settlement, which is scheduled to be paid over 18 years, also calls for a continuous annual flow of settlement money, meaning that the distributors can pay extra in a given year, but that additional money will come off the back end so that there is no disruption of payments.
Without a deal, Ohio would have gone to trial in Madison County on September 20.
In a briefing last month, Yost emphasized that all local communities had to be on board in order for the settlement to move forward.
"We desperately need this money on the ground, combatting the epidemic," he said at the time. "The clock's ticking." As of August 13, only 86% (114 of the 145 litigating political subdivisions) had joined the agreement.
WATCH: You can see Yost's full briefing from Thursday in the player below
- ‘The clock’s ticking’: Yost calls on communities to join settlement agreement against opioid distributors
- Ohio Attorney General Yost announces $26 billion settlement with drug distributors, Johnson & Johnson to end opioid lawsuits
- Companies: $26B settlement of opioid lawsuits to move ahead
- New data: Deadly overdoses climbed 22% in Ohio last year