Waupaca County gets $1.7 million
Local impact of national opioid settlement
By Robert Cloud
Corporation Counsel Diane Meulemans explained the Memorandum of Understanding between local governments and the pharmaceutical companies at the Dec. 21, 2021, Waupaca County Board meeting.
Waupaca County will receive its share of the settlement over a nine-year period.
The funds must be used to cover county and local expenses associated with the opioid crisis, including prevention and and treatment programs for opioid addiction.
Pharmaceutical companies will pay $402 million to Wisconsin. Of that amount, 70% will go to counties and litigating local governments, while 30% will go to the state Department of Health Services.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – will pay up to $$21 billion over 18 years.
Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids, will pay $5 billion during the first three years.
Share of funding
Each state’s share of the funding has been determined by a formula that takes into account the impact of the crisis on the state – the number of overdose deaths, number of residents with substance abuse, and the number of opioids prescribed – and the population of the state.
The 10-year settlement will require the three distributors to establish a centralized clearinghouse that will provide data about where opioids are going and how often.
The goal is to detect suspicious opioid orders from pharmacies and terminate pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show signs of diversion.
Johnson & Johnson will be required to stop selling opioids, not fund third parties that promote opioids and not lobby on behalf of opioids.
In March 2019, state Attorney General Kaul joined a multistate investigation into the business practices of opioid distributors.
For more than two years, the Wisconsin Department of Justice collaborated with other states to investigate the distributors and the role they may have played in fueling the opioid epidemic.