New opioid lawsuit settlements pending in Montgomery County, approved in Fulton County

Pills and a pill bottle

In this August 2018 file photo, an arrangement of Oxycodone pills sit next to a bottle in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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FULTON & MONTGOMERY COUNTIES — Nearly $450,000 in new opioid settlement funds could be OK’d in Fulton and Montgomery counties by month’s end.

The Montgomery County Legislature introduced a resolution on Tuesday to accept a settlement of $145,076 over 15 years, the latest installment of payments settled in a major class-action lawsuit against Big Pharma stakeholders for allegedly exacerbating a painkiller crisis.

Legislators previously signed off on payment agreements trickled down from companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Allergan Finance. This batch comes from Walmart ($33,895), CVS ($53,620) and Walgreens ($57,561).

“It’s a win for us,” said Montgomery County Attorney Meghan Manion.

Fulton County greenlit $295,705 in installments from all three retailers earlier this month and at least $828,435 prior to that from other companies since 2021. More settlements are expected.

“Lives that were destroyed, this money is not going to do anything to help those people,” said Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott Horton. “It’s mostly to prevent that from happening again.”

All 62 counties in New York state have joined together in litigation against pharma companies for the greater half of a decade. Settlement allotments include funds reserved for treatment, recovery, and prevention efforts, as administered under terms negotiated by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Part of the settlements will be used to offset costs of assisting inmates “with any opioid addictions and treatment problems that they may have related to that” prior to their release at Fulton County Jail, said county Administrator Jon Stead.

The opioid crisis in Fulton County reached a fever pitch in the late 2010s. As of 2018, there were seven overdoses resulting in death and 25 in outpatient emergency care.

“I think it’s leveled off now, actually,” Stead said. “But for probably two and a half to three years, we were seeing more deaths attributable to opioid use, fentanyl overdoses, those kinds of things.”

Between 2015 and 2017, there were 800 opioid prescriptions for every 1,000 Montgomery County residents — the highest rate in the state.

Since 2000, opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin have been tied to more than 500,000 deaths nationwide.

Manion is awaiting funds from Purdue, the maker of Oxycotin, to eventually trickle in. New York has secured some $200 million from the manufacturer.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, News

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