Database lists opioid-settlement payments to local governments

Screenshot of first page of KFF Health News database of settlement
 in Kentucky through March 4 shows the top 15 recipients.

How much money are your local governments getting from the settlements of lawsuits filed against opioid manufacturers and distributors? You can track it with a new online database from KFF Health News.

Kentucky is getting $478 million from the settlements through 2038, and a like amount is being paid each year to local governments in the state. State government got $100.7 million in 2022 and $17.4 million in 2023. It will get $21.8 million this year and the same amount in 2025, and an average of $24 million a year after that.

The state’s money is being allocated by the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission, operated out of the attorney general’s office. Local governments’ spending is up to their governing bodies.

“This database undercounts the amount of opioid settlement money most places have received and will receive,” note Aneri Pattani and Lydia Zuraw and Holly K. Hacker of KFF Health News.

The database reflects only the largest settlement so far, $26 billion to be paid by pharmaceutical distributors AmerisourceBergen (now called Cencora), Cardinal Health, and McKesson, as well as opioid manufacturer Janssen (now known as Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine).

It does not include settlements with other drug manufacturers and retailers Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS. Data from these five companies will be added in July, according to BrownGreer, the settlement firm that gets the money and makes the payments. It is not handling some additional settlements such as the agreement between Kentucky and four Midwestern states with regional supermarket chain Meijer.

Other settlements, including with OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, are pending.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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