Close to 500,000 people are dead because of opioid overdoses in the USA from 1999 to 2019, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, we likened an overprescribing doctor to Elizabeth Holmes

This week, we are excited to see a groundbreaking settlement: The first settlement with a tribal government in the litigation over the U.S. addiction crisis.  In this article, Drug distributors strike 1st opioid settlement with Native American tribe for $75 million, we learn that the Cherokee Nation was the first Native American tribe to sue drug distributors and pharmacy operators four years ago.

The Cherokee Nation accused “distributors of flooding its territory with millions of prescription opioid pills, an oversupply of addictive painkillers that resulted in abuse and overdose deaths that disproportionately affected Native Americans.” Additionally, “More than 3,300 similar lawsuits have been filed by states, counties, cities and tribal governments. Distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Health Inc, along with the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, agreed to pay up to $26 billion to resolve similar claims by states and local governments. 

Drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Endo International Plc on Tuesday separately said they agreed to pay $15 million and $7.5 million, respectively, to resolve claims they contributed to the opioid epidemic in Louisiana. Teva will also donate $3 million worth of medications.“

By Jeanmarie Loria