Native American tribes will receive up to $665 million from drug makers and distributors for the role those companies played in fuelling the opioid crisis in tribal communities, according to a court filing on Tuesday.
The deal struck with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and the three largest distributors in the country — McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen — is the largest opioid settlement to date for Native Americans, whose communities were disproportionately impacted by the nationwide epidemic.
Under the agreement, McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen will pay $515 million over six years to federally recognised tribes. That includes a $75 million agreement struck last year between the distributors and the Cherokee Nation. Johnson & Johnson will pay $150 million over two years.
A Washington Post analysis found that from 200-2014, Native Americans were 50 per cent more likely to die from an opioid overdose than non-natives.
The agreement follows similar large-scale payouts by pharmaceutical companies and distributors for their role in the nationwide opioid epidemic.