Montgomery County is in line to receive as much as $3.5 million from Rite Aid’s settlement of opioid claims involving three U.S. counties, Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said.
The purpose of the lawsuits against national opioid manufacturers, distributors and retail pharmacies that dispense opioids is to hold these companies accountable for their actions and to receive funds to help abate the damage caused by the opioid crisis, he said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“This settlement with defendant Rite Aid will immediately provide Montgomery County with at least $1,250,000 and as much as $3,500,000. These funds will be used for drug treatment and prevention programs, public education, and for support and training for first responders in appropriate practices and precautions when dealing with fentanyl or other drugs,” he said.
The U.S. District Court in Cleveland, in March 2021, selected five cases nationwide for trial against the pharmacy defendants as “bellwether” cases and the Montgomery County settlement with Rite Aid was one of those cases, according to Heck’s office.
This lawsuit and settlement will serve as an example for the numerous other cases pending against the pharmacy defendants, Heck said.
“We are pleased that we were able to reach this settlement agreement and receive this money for the benefit of the citizens of Montgomery County in combatting opioid addiction,” Heck said. “My office will continue its litigation against the remaining defendants to obtain additional resources from those responsible for this epidemic to help us deal with this crisis.”
According to reports from news organizations this week including Reuters, Rite Aid Corp. signed a $10.5 million settlement with counties in Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina. The settlement allows the corporation to avoid trials arising from the opioid epidemic in the United States, trials against national pharmacy companies that are scheduled to begin in 2023.
Reuters is also reporting that the Montgomery County settlement is contingent on Rite Aid’s continued pursuit of insurance coverage for opioid lawsuits.