Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s three largest drug distributors agreed Tuesday to settle opioids-related claims by Native American tribes for nearly $600 million.
The settlement, announced in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, is tentative until hundreds of tribes sign on, which is expected.
“The Native American population has suffered some of the worst consequences of the opioid epidemic of any population in the United States. Indeed, American Indians have suffered the highest per capita rate of opioid overdoses,” the tribal leadership committee said in a statement filed with the court. “American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest drug overdose death rates in 2015 and the largest percentage increase in the number of deaths over time from 1999-2015 compared to other racial and ethnic groups.”
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