Native American Tribes Reach $590 Million Opioid Settlement

More than 400 tribes and tribal organizations accused the prescription drug industry’s largest players of purposely flooding their communities with highly addictive opioids, causing overdose deaths and health care costs to skyrocket. The settlement is with Johnson & Johnson and the country’s three largest drug distribution companies: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. There are some details that are still in the works, but all federally recognized tribes in the U.S. will be able to take part in the settlements, even if they did not sue over opioids. There could also be settlements between other firms in the industry and tribes, many of which have been hit hard by the overdose crisis. W. Ron Allen, chair of the Jamestown K’Klallam Tribe in Sequim, Washington, has emphasized the importance of tribes reaching their own settlement. This shows progress since tobacco industry deals in the 1990s left out Native Americans.

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