President Trump threw down the gauntlet in 2017, promising to bring opioid manufacturers to justice for their role in the opioid epidemic. Understanding the art of the deal, In October 2021 Trump’s DOJ cut an $8 billion opioid settlement with Purdue Pharma weeks before the election. It created a pathway for a global opioid deal. This past summer Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and the big opioid distributors signed a $26 billion global opioid deal. At least six states, including Nevada, Georgia, Washington and Alabama, did not sign the deal.
Clearly tweaking, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, passed on about $540 million that Washington could have gotten from the $26 billion opioid deal. Things seem to have changed since the summer. Earlier this month California Judge Peter J. Wilson ruled that opioid manufacturers were not responsible for the opioid crisis. The state supreme court in Oklahoma subsequently reversed a ruling against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), claiming J&J was not liable for the opioid epidemic and the previous judge, Thad Balkman, erred in applying a public nuisance claim to the manufacturing and marketing of products.
In an interview with NPR Ailsa Chang, Ferguson explained why he turned down $540 million, just months before California and Oklahoma implied his lawsuit was bogus:
Bob Ferguson: I did reject that settlement, which would have brought in several hundred million dollars for the state of Washington … Those payments would have spread out over 18 years … would have been about $30 million a year. Look you don’t have to be expert in the impact of the opioid epidemic and the harm caused by the defense to realize that just is not enough to remedy the situation, dollars for treatment and harms to our state … Combined with the fact that there’s actually no accountability for these companies, were key reasons why I rejected it …
There is no legal precedence for what Ferguson is suggesting, and judges in Connecticut, North Dakota, California and Oklahoma have told him this. Now Ferguson is seeking $38 billion from distributors McKesson (MCK), Cardinal Health (CAH) and AmerisourceBergen (ABC). That said, Bob Ferguson is tweaking so hard, Lamar from BMF is taking pictures.
Lamar, played by actor Eric Kofi-Abrefa, is a former drug dealer who used to sell drugs and rob other drug dealers. He was locked up for an assault charge. His lawyers got Lamar put into an insane asylum on an insanity plea. After being released and returning to Detroit, Lamar wreaks havoc on local drug dealers in an attempt to reclaim his empire. Lamar goes after Filmel, Meech, Terry Flenory, Slick, Tin, et. al, partly due to business, partly because he’s a psychopath. Just when you thought Lamar was the craziest person you had ever seen, Bob Ferguson shows up.