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The State of Alabama Reaches $276 Million Opioid Settlement with Opioid Manufacturers, Distributor

Alabama reached a $276 million settlement with drug makers Endo Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson and drug distributor McKesson Corp, resolving claims that the companies helped fuel a devastating opioid epidemic in the state.

"These three settlement agreements affirm my decision to decline participation in the national opioid settlements, which did not adequately acknowledge the unique harm that Alabamians have endured and would have redirected millions of dollars to bigger states that experienced a less severe impact," Attorney General Steve Marshall said.

Alabama was first in the nation in 2012 for per-capita opioid prescriptions, with 143.8 opioid prescriptions per 100 residents—that's equivalent to more than 1.4 prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in the state, according to the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

Alabama was one of four states that declined to join the $26 billion nationwide opioid settlement against four opioid companies, opting instead to take on the drug companies on its own. Under the settlement terms, Endo will pay $25 million to the state, Johnson & Johnson will pay $70.3 million, and McKesson will pay $141 million.

Had Alabama joined the national opioid litigation, it would likely have received significantly less from Endo based on what the company has agreed to pay to states with similar populations. Alabama would have gotten the same amount from Johnson & Johnson, but the money would have been paid out over nine years rather than handed over in a lump sum. The attorney general's office said that McKesson would have paid only $115.8 million over 18 years rather than $141 million over nine years.

"Having encountered the utter darkness of the opioid crisis at my own doorstep, this is one of my most meaningful accomplishments as your attorney general," Marshall said.

The State of Alabama was also represented by Michael Dean and Clay Crenshaw from the Attorney General’s office, Bob Prince and Josh Hayes of Prince Glover Hayes, Jere Beasley and Rhon Jones of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles.   

“My firm is honored to play a lead role in this ongoing landmark litigation,” Josh Hayes stated, “Alabama has suffered greatly at the hands of the opioid industry.   Accountability has been achieved and much-needed resources to fight the scourge of the opioid epidemic will soon be flowing into our state.   We are proud to be part of Attorney General Marshall’s team.”

In addition to the lawyers listed above, the State’s litigation team consisted of Dena Prince, Matt Glover, Blake Williams and Coe Baxter of Prince Glover Hayes and Rick Stratton, Matt Griffith, Jeff Price, Tucker Osborne, Gavin King, David Diab, and Elliot Bienenfeld of Beasley Allen.  The case is State of Alabama v. Endo Health Solutions Inc, in the Montgomery County Circuit Court, Alabama, case No. CV-2019-901174.