Department Of Justice v. McKesson Corporation (1/17/17)

The McKesson corporation was facing allegations that it did not adhere to an effective strategy of monitoring suspicious orders, allowing too many Opioid orders to go through. This kind of negligence is in violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

The Department of Justice (DOJ) took McKesson to court in a national trial. According to the DOJ, in addition to paying $150 million, McKesson’s settlement also required that they “suspend sales of controlled substances from distribution centers in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan and Florida for multiple years.”

State Of West Virginia v. McKesson Corporation (1/11/18)

In another lawsuit, West Virginia accused McKesson Pharmaceutical of shipping over 100 million Opioid doses into small towns throughout the state. The terms of the settlement stipulated that McKesson would pay $37 million to West Virginia over a period of 5 years.

According to an article in West Virginia’s The Register-Herald, the money “will go to prevention programs focused on children who’ve been through traumatic experiences, workforce development, drug rehabilitation and vocational training for inmates, and a program for grandparents raising children of addicted parents.” That being said, the same article declared that the settlement “[contained] no provisions that would prevent another prescription drug crisis from happening in the state.”

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Manhattan AG & DEA v. Rochester Drug Co-Op. (4/23/19)

The Manhattan Attorney General and the DEA charged former executive officers of Rochester Drug Co-Operative, Incorporated (and the company as a whole) with unlawful distribution of Opioids.

According to the DOJ, “RDC agreed to accept responsibility for its conduct by making admissions and stipulating to the accuracy of an extensive Statement of Facts, pay a $20 million penalty, reform and enhance its Controlled Substances Act compliance program, and submit to supervision by an independent monitor. Assuming RDC’s continued compliance with the Agreement, the Government has agreed to defer prosecution for a period of 5 years, after which time the Government will seek to dismiss the charges.” Before the settlement, Rochester Drug Co-Operative’s Laurence F. Doud III and William Pietruszewski had been facing the possibility of life in prison.

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Federal Government v. Insys (6/5/19)

The DOJ charged Insys with violating the False Claims Act because of the unlawful monetary kickbacks it was giving health professionals in order to encourage them to prescribe Subsys, their Opioid product. Defendants included Insys and its CEO, John Kapoor. Ultimately, Insys settled for a payment of $225 million in order to avoid criminal and civil investigations. Kapoor was sentenced to 66 months in prison.

State Of Oklahoma et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P. et al. (6/24/19)

Oklahoma sued Purdue and others (including Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals) on fraud charges, accusing the defendants of aggressively marketing Opioids they knew would be problematic to the public. Deceptive marketing practices included packaging Opioids as being unlikely to cause addiction, a claim that is demonstrably false. Purdue Pharma was ordered to pay $270 million, while Teva Pharmaceuticals was ordered to pay $85 million.

Federal Government v. Reckitt Benckiser (7/11/19)

The global conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser marketed the recovery Opioid Suboxone aggressively in the US and served as a driving force for the Opioid crisis. As a result the DOJ brought charges against Reckitt Benckiser and its subsidiary, Indivior, in a national trial. A total settlement of $1.4 billion in proceed forfeiture and civil settlements with the states and federal government ensued; at the time, it was the largest Opioid-related settlement in history.

Ohio Counties v. Johnson & Johnson (10/1/19)

Two Ohio counties, Cuyahoga and Summit, held Johnson & Johnson responsible for fueling the Opioid epidemic ravaging their communities. Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay a settlement of $10 million to each county and $5 million for both to cover litigation fees. According to Reuters, settling this way “[allowed] the U.S. healthcare giant to avoid an upcoming federal trial seeking to hold the industry responsible for the nation’s opioid epidemic…the settlement includes no admission of liability.”

The National Prescription Opiate Litigation: MDL 2804 (2020+)

At its inception the “largest civil trial in U.S. history,” according to the RAND Corporation, this litigation involves plaintiffs (including counties, cities, Native American tribes, and individual American citizens) alleging that every party involved in the Opioid pipeline grossly misrepresented the damage that long-term Opioid use could cause. Defendants include Opioid manufacturers, Opioid distributors, prescribing doctors, and chain pharmacies. The trial could be responsible for setting an important precedent for the future of Opioid litigation.

Sackler Family Bankruptcy Settlement (2021)

As part of a bankruptcy settlement, the Sackler family (owners of Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin) were granted “[release] from liability for harm caused by OxyContin and other opioids to the Sacklers, hundreds of their associates, as well as their remaining empire of companies and trusts,” according to NPR. The outlet went on to report that “In return, [the Sacklers] have agreed to pay roughly $4.3 billion, while also forfeiting ownership of Purdue Pharma.”

The Department of Justice attempted to block the deal, which many (including, seemingly, the judge who approved it) thought resulted in the Sacklers getting off far too lightly. According to reporting from Bloomberg in October of 2021, “Lawyers for the company and parties appealing the deal, including an arm of the US Justice Department and a handful of state attorneys general, are set to lay out their arguments in court on Nov. 30.”

Your Experience With Opioids

If you or a loved one has been harmed by Opioids, check our How to Join a Class Action page to find resources on your legal recourse options related to Opioid settlements. If Opioids are still an active issue in your life, it’s not too late to make a change. Opioid use disorders are dangerous and can lead to serious long term consequences, even death. Contact a treatment provider today if you are interested in rehab-related help.

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William Henken

Photo of William Henken
  • Will Henken earned a B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Central Florida. He has had his work published in the Orlando Sentinel, and has previous experience crafting copy for political action committees and advocacy groups dedicated to social justice. Addiction and mental health are personal subjects for him, and his greatest hope is that he can give a helping hand to those seeking healthy and lasting recovery.

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