WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF)-As the Opioid Crisis sweeps the state and nation, West Virginia reached a record-high settlement in a major lawsuit. It came to $ 400 Million.
That settlement was reached on behalf of West Virginians.
“This result will hopefully affect the future generations of West Virginia.”Clayton Fitzsimmons, attorney
The state had sued three big opioid distributors: Cardinal Health, Amerisource Bergen, and McKesson. The lawsuit claimed those companies dumped millions of opioid pills in West Virginia for decades, causing the epidemic to take off.
“What they did is they allowed these Opioid pills, that are very, very addictive to get out, and they didn’t control them to the point where we had some devastation.”Bob Fitzsimmons, attorney
Early on, the state was not eligible to take part in the national settlement with those distributors. The state did its own litigating as a result. Because of that, attorneys say the settlement resulted in significantly more money.
“Our settlement gives the counties and citizens of West Virginia 250 million dollars more than they would have received out of the national settlement.”Mark Colantonio, attorney
Not to mention, West Virginia also received more settlement dollars per capita than any other state and more than doubled it allocated share. The settlement money has also been expedited.
So, for now, the state is working on pouring the money into a special nonprofit organization. That will help come up with procedures and mechanisms to actually fight the epidemic for once and for all.
“This money is going to help stop that problem. This is not going to bring back a son or a daughter who died from it because that’s done, but what it is going to do is stop that problem we can. So, another friend and another family member doesn’t have to endure that kind of hardship.”Bob Fitzsimmons, attorney