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Minnesota AG Ellison announces tentative $4.25B settlement with opioid manufacturer

Ellison says the in principle agreement will bring tens of millions of dollars into the state to deal with what he calls a public-safety and public-health crisis.

ST PAUL, Minn. — It appears Minnesota could have tens of millions of dollars coming in to help deal with the opioid epidemic, a dilemma that continues to take a huge human and financial toll on the state.

Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday announced that Minnesota and a coalition of states have hammered out a "tentative agreement" on a $4.25 billion settlement with opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals. Minnesota's financial share of the settlement is yet unspecified. In a news release Ellison said he will review the framework of the agreement that was first announced yesterday. 

"There’s no amount of money that can make up for the death and destruction that these companies caused by putting their profits before people’s lives," Ellison said in a released statement. "I’m encouraged by the potential of this framework to provide urgently needed resources to keep Minnesotans safe from the epidemic and restore families and communities."

The AG's office says preliminary data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that from 2020 to 2021, opioid-involved overdose deaths increased by 35% to an all-time high of 924 in 2021.  Statistics also indicate for every drug overdose death in Minnesota, there were approximately 10 nonfatal drug overdoses, including 7,698 drug overdoses in the Twin Cities metro area and more than 5,000 nonfatal drug overdoses in Greater Minnesota.

Wednesday's settlement announcement comes in the wake of a much larger one approved in February with pharmaceutical distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. That agreement resulted in a $26 billion payout, with Minnesota's share of more than $300 million being allocated to counties and cities to fight the opioid epidemic. 

For more on today's tentative settlement and Minnesota's battle with opioid producers and distributors, you can check out a special page on the attorney general's website

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