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Hawaii to get $73M from opioid settlement

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                                Hawaii Attorney General Holly T. Shikada.


    Hawaii Attorney General Holly T. Shikada.

Hawaii will receive about $73 million as its share of a landmark settlement with the manufacturer and distributors of opioids for their roles in a national addiction crisis, according to the state attorney general.

The final approval of a $26 billion settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson means funds should be released to a national administrator starting on April 2.

Money will start flowing to Hawaii and Kauai, Honolulu, Maui, and Hawaii counties, which signed onto the agreement, in the second quarter of this year, according to Hawaii Attorney General Holly T. Shikada.

“These settlements do not complete our fight against those who created and fostered the nationwide opioid problem,” said Shikada in a news release. “But with the assistance of our counties, these settlements are a major step forward in finding and funding better solutions.”

The agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country, according to the release, and is the second largest multi-state agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

Most of the $73 million in funds will go to support treatment, recovery, and harm reduction programs, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic.

“Addiction is a lifelong struggle for those affected,” said Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami in a statement. “We still have an uphill battle ahead of us, but it’s time these major pharmaceutical companies be held accountable and help to be part of the solution. We thank our attorneys, both past and present, for their work toward this resolution.”

Johnson & Johnson is required to stop selling opioids, not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids, and not lobby on activities related to opioids. Additionally, J&J is not to share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

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