Texas Attorney General Reps Ask Austin County To Join Opioid Settlement [VIDEO]
Representatives from the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office attended and spoke at Monday’s Commissioners Court Meeting. The representatives asked for Austin County to consider joining with other counties and municipalities in the state as part of a multibillion-dollar legal settlement that would partially fund responses to the opioid epidemic, but also protect drug companies from future lawsuits.
The representatives explained that, depending on how many parties signed onto the settlement would determine what the final dollar amount would be. The final deadline for Austin County to decide to join or not is January 2, 2022.
in July, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas had joined a $26 billion, multistate opioid settlement with the country’s three major drug distributors — McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen — as well as drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The distributors, which are supposed to monitor prescription drug shipments, are accused in hundreds of lawsuits of turning a blind eye while pharmacies across the country ordered millions of pills for people over the last two decades. (Follow this link for more background information)
The agreement could yield the state and many of its local governments up to $1.5 billion. Under the agreement, the three distributors would pay up to $1.17 billion to the state and the localities that opt in to the agreement over 18 years. Johnson & Johnson would pay up to $268 million over nine years.
Austin County’s portion of that settlement, should they decide to join, is projected to be around $93,000 which would be paid out in one lump sum. The county would also then have the ability to apply for an additional 70% more in the form of grants from the opioid commission. The opioid commission is currently being setup as part of the settlement to oversee the distribution of the settlement funds.
However, County Judge Tim Lapham expressed his concerns about the possibility of Austin County securing additional grant funding. These concerns stemmed primarily from Austin County being part of Region 3. Region 3, according to the PowerPoint slides that the representatives are referring to in the video below, encompasses mammoth population areas such as Harris and Fort Bend Counties making the odds of further money coming to Austin County slim.
You can view the complete presentation and exchange in the video below from the 16:57 mark of the video to the 41:19 of the video. If you would like more information concerning this settlement, or would like to keep up with it as it progresses you can refer to the Texas AG’s website at:
This page will continue to be updated as the process continues.