Attorney General Mark Brnovich Announces Finalized Consent Judgments in $26 Billion Opioid Investigation
PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced his office (AGO) has secured consent judgments finalizing two historic multistate settlements totaling $26 billion, with four pharmaceutical companies for their roles in the opioid crisis. The agreements include Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen—the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors—and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids.
“We are working to get these opioid abatement funds to local communities as quickly as possible,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “They will help facilitate more effective treatment, education, and prevention as our state continues to tackle this heartbreaking crisis.”
Arizona and its political subdivisions will receive more than $540 million over the next 18 years from the consent judgments for opioid treatment, prevention, and education.
The AGO also secured an extra $10 million because the office handled the case without using outside counsel.
All of Arizona’s counties, cities, and towns, along with the AGO, agreed to a plan for distributing and using money from the settlements. This agreement – The One Arizona Distribution of Opioid Settlement Funds Agreement – ensures funds will be distributed expeditiously across the state and used solely for opioid abatement and treatment. Significantly, because the AGO worked with all of Arizona’s counties, cities, and towns to join the One Arizona Distribution of Opioid Settlement Funds Agreement, settlement recovery from the opioid distributors and manufacturer was maximized.
The consent judgments follow investigations by state attorneys general into whether the three distributors fulfilled their legal duty of refusing to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.
Tragically, in 2021, drug overdose deaths rose to 107,000, including 2,700 lives lost in Arizona. Countless more lives have been torn apart by addiction. The damage, which continues in part every day due to a wide open southern border, also impacts their families, friends, and communities.
Civil Litigation Division Chief Counsel Joseph Sciarrotta, Jr., Consumer Protection Section Chief Leslie Kyman Cooper, and Consumer Litigation Unit Chief Matthew du Mée handled these cases.
Distributors’ consent judgment
J&J consent judgment
Today’s announcement is the latest action General Brnovich has taken to combat the opioid epidemic:
The AGO also offers a free opioid awareness and prevention program for the public. Additionally, the AGO offers training for faith leaders and law enforcement across Arizona on how to administer Narcan, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication. The faith leader training is part of a toolkit created by the AGO to help churches and places of worship better serve the needs of parishioners who are battling addiction.