The Distributors Tribal Opioid Settlement

A nationwide settlement has been reached to resolve all Opioids litigation brought by federally recognized Tribes against the three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the United States: McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen (the “Distributors”). This settlement will provide substantial funds to participating Tribes for abatement of the opioid epidemic in Indian country.

If the proposed settlement is agreed to and adopted by Tribes nationwide:

  • The Distributors will pay up to $515 million to participating federally recognized Tribes over the next six and a half years. (Of this amount, $75,035,500 has been set aside for the Cherokee Nation, which reached a separate settlement with the Distributors to resolve its bellwether litigation against them. A “bellwether” case is one that goes first and helps identify a case’s strengths and weaknesses to help the parties come to a settlement for other victims.)
  • The settlement is open to all 574 federally recognized Tribes, whether or not a Tribe has filed litigation against the Distributors.
  • The Court overseeing the national opioids litigation appointed David Cohen and retired federal Judge Layn Phillips to set the procedures to determine the allocation of the settlement funds among the Tribes and to jointly determine that final inter-tribal allocation. When Mr. Cohen and Judge Phillips set the procedures, they will be posted here. You will have the right to comment on the allocation and suggest any changes.
  • David Cohen and Judge Phillips will start with the Purdue Allocation and invite all Tribes and Alaska and California tribal health organizations to comment on whether and how that allocation should be modified for allocating the settlement money.
  • The settlement will become effective 60 days after: (i) at least 95% of the litigating Tribes (as measured by their allocable shares of the settlement) agree to the settlement, and (ii) at least 14 of the 17 non-litigating Tribes with populations exceeding 5,000 tribal members agree to the settlement.
  • A total of 15% of the settlement funds will be set aside to pay attorney fees. The balance of 85% of the funds that will be paid to participating Tribes must be used for abatement of the opioid epidemic in tribal communities, pursuant to a broadly defined list of approved abatement programs, activities and services, with special deference for tribal governments to decide which culturally appropriate or traditional healing practices are best suited to their communities. You may find the approved programs and uses by clicking here.
  • In order to participate, a Tribe must sign and submit a Tribal Participation Form through a secure portal that may be accessed through this website.

Law firms and unrepresented Tribes may submit Participation Forms quickly and easily using the secure online portal by selecting Portal Log In at the top of this screen. The Portal Log In page provides instructions for creating access credentials if you have not previously received access credentials.

In addition to the secure online portal, you may submit a Participation Form by:


  • Be sure the Tribal Settlements Administrator, BrownGreer PLC, has your contact information so they know who to contact about wiring funds or mailing a check. Click here to log on to the Portal to check your contact information or email