At the December 12, 2018, public meeting, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted 4 to 1 (Kyle Davis voted no, I and my 3 fellow Democrats vote yes) to authorize Mark J Bern Partners, LLP. and Cordisco & Saile, LLC, to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers, promoters, and distributors of synthetic prescription Opioid medication on behalf of Newtown Township (read "Newtown Township Joins Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors").
Three years later – at the December 22, 2021, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) public meeting – the supervisors voted to authorize the signing of a settlement agreement with Johnson & Johnson and its U.S.-based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies (“collectively J&J”) and opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson.
If all conditions are satisfied, the comprehensive settlement agreement would result in the settlement of a substantial majority of opioid lawsuits filed by state and local governmental entities.
If the proposed settlement agreement and settlement process leads to final settlement, it would collectively provide thousands of communities across the United States up to approximately $21 billion (or more?) over 18 years. Here are some totals I have found from press releases distributed by the defendant companies:
- J&J/Janssen: $5.0 billion,
- AmerisourceBergen: $6.4 billion,
- Cardinal Health: $6.4 billion,
- McKesson: $7.9 billion
Pennsylvania will receive $1,070,609,642.
Distribution and Use of Funds
Municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000, which includes Newtown Township, will receive $200,000 from the Distributors Settlement Agreement and $50,000 from the J&J Settlement Agreement for a total of $250,000.
Attorney fees of 6.6% and litigation expenses will be taken “off the top” of the settlement amount received by Pennsylvania, which is substantially less than a 25% “contingent fee” originally authorized by Newtown. It is not clear how that will lessen the amount received by Newtown.
According to the order regarding allocation of funds:
- The Order creates a trust known as the Pennsylvania Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust
- The funds obtained and ultimately paid by the Trust shall be distributed to the Commonwealth and its Participating Subdivisions [e.g., townships] only for the “Opioid Remediation Uses” (see below) set forth in Exhibit E to the Distributors Settlement Agreement and J&J Settlement Agreement and the Trust shall review expenditures by subdivisions which receive Trust Funds to insure that such spending was consistent with Exhibit E.
- All funds must be spent within 18 months of receipt except if a Subdivision is using such funds multi-year capital project in accordance with Exhibit E of the Distributors Settlement Agreement and J&J Settlement Agreement.
- Responsibility of Trust includes Reviewing annual reports on spending to ensure compliance with the settlement terms.
List of Opioid Remediation Uses
I’m on record saying “If [Newtown] Township were to get some money out of this, small as it might be, it is my hope that the funds are used to support opioid anti-addiction programs and implement educational programs for the general public and students.” See the video here: http://bit.ly/OpioidSuitPost Thankfully, that is precisely what the settlement proposes.
Exhibit E lists Core Strategies and Approved Uses for Treatment and Prevention of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and any co-occurring Substance Use Disorder or Mental Health (SUD/MH) conditions. See Exhibit E for details.
According to Exhibit E, fund grantees should give priority to the following core abatement strategies (not all are listed here – mostly those applicable to Newtown):
- Naloxone or other FDA-approved drug to reverse opioid overdoses
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (“MAT”) distribution and other opioid-related treatment
- Expansion of warm hand-off programs and recovery services [Such as programs described in the following articles: “Falls and Middletown Police Departments Join the Bucks County Mental Health Co-Responder Program” and “More Bucks County Police Departments Deliver Addiction Help Via The "Supporting Treatment and Recovery Program" (STAR) Program”]
- Prevention Programs [such as evidence-based prevention programs in schools and training for first responders to participate in pre-arrest diversion programs]
Exhibit E also specifies that fund grantees should give priority to the following approved treatment and prevention programs (not all are listed here – mostly those applicable to Newtown):
- Support treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (“OUD”) and any co-occurring Substance Use Disorder or Mental Health (“SUD/MH”) conditions
- Support efforts to prevent over-prescribing and ensure appropriate prescribing and dispensing of opioids
- Support efforts to discourage or prevent misuse of opioids [e.g., like some things the township already does including, public education relating to drug disposal, drug take-back disposal or destruction programs]
- Support efforts to prevent or reduce overdose deaths or other opioid-related harms [e.g., increased availability and distribution of naloxone, training and education regarding naloxone, educating first responders regarding the existence and operation of immunity and Good Samaritan laws]
- Provision of wellness and support services for first responders and others who experience secondary trauma associated with opioid-related emergency events
Posted on 23 Dec 2021, 12:20 - Category: Opioid Epidemic