Welcome to the Official Tribal Opioid Settlements Website
Two settlements have been reached to resolve Opioids litigation brought by Tribes and tribal health organizations against the three largest pharmaceutical distributors: McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen (“Distributors”), and manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its parent company Johnson & Johnson (collectively, “J&J”). These settlements will provide about $503 million (minus certain administrative costs) to Tribes and Alaska tribal health organizations for abatement of the Opioids epidemic across Indian Country.
Tribes have the right to decide whether to participate in either, both, or neither settlement. This website contains information about the settlements and how Tribes may participate and receive settlement funds.
What are the lawsuits about?
The lawsuits claims that Opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers knew that Opioids are more addictive than they claimed, causing addiction and other harm to tribal members and their communities.
What is the history of the lawsuits?
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by Tribes, tribal health organizations, states, cities, counties, hospitals, union trust funds, and individuals. In 2017, a federal judicial panel consolidated the cases, now known as National Prescription Opiate Multi-District Litigation (MDL), and assigned them to Ohio federal district court Judge Dan A. Polster. Hundreds of federally recognized Tribes filed lawsuits, asserting their right to seek compensation as sovereign governments and on behalf of their citizens. Judge Polster appointed a Tribal Leadership Committee (TLC) to coordinate the tribal litigation and to advocate for all Tribes in the litigation and in any settlement negotiations.
Over the course of several years, Judge Polster has overseen pretrial proceedings in multiple litigation “tracks” and selected test cases for trial. He has also appointed special masters and mediators to urge the parties toward settlement, saying early on that no settlement would be complete without participation by tribal plaintiffs. Some of the defendants, including Purdue Pharma (the manufacturer of OxyContin) and Mallinckrodt PLC (one of the largest manufacturers of generic opioids) entered bankruptcy as a result of the litigation, transferring their cases to separate bankruptcy courts.
The Distributors and J&J have now reached agreement with the TLC on terms for proposed settlements open to all federally recognized Tribes, whether or not they filed lawsuits. In addition, Purdue and Mallinckrodt are pursuing bankruptcy plans that would fund opioid abatement trusts from which every Tribe is entitled to a distribution. For updated information about the Mallinckrodt bankruptcy plan, please visit the Mallinckrodt Bankruptcy page on the Settlements tab.
This website contains information and documents related to each of these settlements. Tribes and tribal entities that are eligible to participate should consult with their counsel about participation.
There may be additional settlements in the future. Those settlements will be added to the website as well.