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Attorney General James distributes first funds from opioid settlements to Western New York


Tue, Apr 19th 2022 04:00 pm

Buffalo & Western New York counties receive over $12.8 million in first round of payments 

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday distributed the first round of payments from the opioid settlements to counties in Western New York and Buffalo. In 2022, Western New York will receive a total of $12.8 million, with more than $8.3 million going to Erie County and more than $580,000 going to Buffalo. These funds are the result of the $1.5 billion James has secured so far for New York as a result of settlements with the manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

All 62 counties and the five largest cities in the state will begin receiving funds this week, which will be used for opioid treatment and prevention efforts. Western New York will receive up to $75 million in total over the years as part of these settlements.

“The opioid crisis has devastated communities in Buffalo, across Western New York, and throughout the state,” James said. “These funds will help us take opioids out of our communities and ensure that every New Yorker struggling with addiction gets the help they need. While no amount of money will ever make up for the lives we’ve lost, these funds will be vital in helping to prevent future deaths and destruction.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “The scourge of opioid abuse devastated Erie County along with all of New York state, leaving a trail of shattered lives and families in its wake. I thank Attorney General James for her focus on holding those responsible for so much suffering to account, and for working hard for our residents. While we can’t bring back those we have lost, we can work together to prevent this pain from happening to other families.”

Mayor Byron Brown said, “The resources provided from these settlements will be helpful in our efforts to battle opioid abuse in the City of Buffalo. I am grateful for New York Attorney General Letitia James’ tireless effort in fighting the large drug companies who created this crisis in our communities.”

The first payments come from settlements with opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp.

Later this year, Western New York counties and Buffalo will receive additional payments from the settlements with Endo Health Solutions, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Allergan. In addition, counties and cities will receive funds from the New York State Opioid Settlement Fund, which is managed by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). 

The breakdown of the funds that will be distributed in 2022 is below.

Western New York total: $12,804,235 

√ City of Buffalo: $582,427

√ Allegany County: $293,856

√ Cattaraugus County: $528,364

√ Chautauqua County: $1,021,617

√ Erie County: $8,339,874

√ Niagara County: $2,038,096


•In March 2019, James filed what her team called “the nation’s most extensive lawsuit to hold accountable the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid epidemic.”

The manufacturers named in the complaint included Purdue Pharma and its affiliates, as well as members of the Sackler Family (owners of Purdue) and trusts they control; Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates (including its parent company Johnson & Johnson); Mallinckrodt LLC and its affiliates; Endo Health Solutions and its affiliates; and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and its affiliates. The distributors named in the complaint were McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Drug Corp. and Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc.

•In June 2021, James announced a settlement that will deliver $230 to New York and “end Johnson & Johnson’s sale of opioids nationwide.”

•In July, the attorney general secured a settlement with McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen that will deliver up to $1 billion to New York state to combat the opioid epidemic.

•In September, James secured $50 million from Endo for New York state, and Nassau and Suffolk counties, “to combat the opioid crisis,” and removed the opioid manufacturer from New York’s ongoing opioid trial.

•In October, she visited Buffalo as part of her statewide “HealNY” tour, where she announced she would deliver up to $75 million to Western New York to combat the opioid epidemic. That same month, the attorney general visited the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Chautauqua’s residential substance use disorder treatment program at Jones Memorial Health Center – where she toured the facility with elected officials and met with impacted individuals.

•In December, the attorney general scored a court victory against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA after a jury found the company and its affiliates liable for violating New Yorkers’ rights. A subsequent trial will now be held to determine how much Teva and others will be required to pay, which will be added to the up to $1.5 billion James already secured for New York from different opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The cases against Mallinckrodt, Purdue Pharma, and Rochester Drug Cooperative are now moving separately through U.S. Bankruptcy Court. 

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