Attorney General Bonta: Drug Distributors and Johnson & Johnson Commit to $26 Billion Opioid Agreement

Friday, February 25, 2022
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

California to receive over $2 billion to fight the opioid crisis

OAKLAND – Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the approval of the $26 billion opioid agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, as well as Johnson & Johnson. With significant support from states and local governments, the settlement, if approved by the court, will begin providing funds to the state, as well as cities and counties in California in the second quarter of 2022.

“We are another step closer to bringing billions of dollars in relief to California to help fight the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Too many lives have been lost to opioid addiction, and the epidemic continues to plague our communities. This settlement will not only bring resources to our state, cities, and counties to help fund treatment and recovery, it will help prevent these companies from ever again engaging in the improper business practices that led to the ongoing crisis.”

The agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country. It is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

Fifty-two states and territories as well as thousands of local governments across the country signed on to the agreement. In California, all 56 eligible counties and 361 cities – 96% of eligible cities – signed on to the agreement. As a result, California will receive over $2.05 billion. Eighty-five percent of these funds will go directly to California’s local communities to support treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic.

In addition to the funds, Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen will: 

  • Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors;
  • Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies;
  • Terminate customer pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show certain signs of diversion;
  • Prohibit shipping of and report suspicious opioid orders;
  • Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders; and
  • Require senior corporate officials to engage in regular oversight of anti-diversion efforts.

Johnson & Johnson is required to: 

  • Stop selling opioids;
  • Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids;
  • Not lobby on activities related to opioids; and
  • Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

Negotiations were led by the attorneys general of California, North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. 

Additional information about the opioid settlements is available at

# # #