Frequently Asked Questions About the AG's Statewide Opioid Settlements

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the AG's statewide opioid settlements.

Table of Contents

(1) How can MA municipalities sign on to the Walmart, Teva, Allergan, CVS, & Walgreens settlements?

Massachusetts has reached proposed nationwide settlements with two pharmaceutical manufacturers, Teva and Allergan, and three pharmacies, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart.  The Settlement Implementation Administrator, Rubris Inc., is sending municipalities Participation Forms for each settlement, as well as instructions explaining how to complete the Participation Forms.  We expect this notice to go out the week of January 30, 2023. 

To participate in the settlements and receive payment, municipalities must sign and return the Participation Forms to the Implementation Administrator no later than April 18, 2023.  Please note that municipalities must fill out these new Participation Forms even if they have previously completed Participation Forms for other settlements, such as the settlement with Johnson & Johnson.  Participation forms submitted for prior opioid settlements are not applicable to the settlements with Teva, Allergan, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. 

(2) How are abatement funds MA receives under statewide opioid settlements distributed?

Under the terms of the state’s approved State-Subdivision Agreement, 40% of abatement funds coming into Massachusetts under statewide opioid settlements will be allocated to municipalities to expend on abatement strategies developed with input from public health experts, municipal leaders, and families affected by the crisis; and 60% of the abatement funds will be allocated to the state’s Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund to fund additional prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery programs throughout Massachusetts.

(3) Do municipalities have a role in the statewide Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund?

Yes.  The Executive Office of Health and Human Services, together with a Council comprised of 10 municipal appointees appointed by the Massachusetts Municipal Association and 10 state appointees, oversees the Fund.  The appointees are qualified by experience and expertise regarding opioid use disorder. 

In 2022, the Council met five times and focused on reviewing the scope of the opioid crisis in Massachusetts, reviewing the existing landscape of substance use prevention and treatment programming in Massachusetts, and developing a strategic plan to address racial and geographic inequities in substance use prevention and treatment.  The Council dedicated significant time to developing a set of principles for future expenditures from the Fund.

Council meeting minutes, materials and Annual Reports are available here

(4) How much will MA municipalities receive from the statewide opioid settlements?

Charts reflecting the estimated, maximum annual distributions to participating municipalities from the statewide opioid settlements (including the proposed settlements with  Teva, Allergan, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart) are hereThese amounts are subject to adjustment, including deductions to account for the costs of settlement administration. 

Experts and lawyers for state and local governments in the national opioid litigation developed the model used to calculate distributions under the opioid settlements.  The model allocates settlement dollars to counties using three factors: (1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data on the prevalence of opioid use disorder in a county from the years 2007 through 2016; (2) data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies on overdose deaths in a county from the years 2006 to 2016; and (3) Drug Enforcement Agency data on opioid shipments from the years 2006 to 2014 to the county. The model then allocates funds to municipalities based on U.S. Census data showing how a county and its municipalities have historically split funding for government functions relevant to opioid abatement, including education, public welfare services, and health care.

The allocation percentages reflected in the national settlements are final and cannot be renegotiated.

Distributions allocated to municipalities that do not participate in a particular statewide opioid settlement (i.e., municipalities that do not sign settlement Participation Forms for one or more of the settlements) will be directed to the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund

(5) When will municipalities receive payments?

Once participating municipalities complete and submit through the Portal a Payment Election Form and W-9, payments for each settlement should be available to flow, as follows:

  • Distributors
    • Payment 1: July 15, 2022
    • Payment 2: August/September 2022
    • Payments 3-18: July 15, 2023-2038
  • Johnson & Johnson
    • Payments 1-5: October 31, 2022
    • Payments 6-11: July/August, 2026-3031
  • Teva*
    • Payment 1: TBD
    • Payments 2-13: July 15, 2024-2035
  • Allergan*
    • Payment 1: TBD
    • Payments 2-7: July 15, 2024-2029
  • CVS*
    • Payment 1: TBD
    • Payments 2-10: June 30, 2024-2032
  • Walgreens*
    • Payment 1: TBD
    • Payments 2: TBD
    • Payments 3-14: March 31, 2025-2036
    • Payment 15: December 31, 2036
  • Walmart*
    • Payment 1: TBD
    • Payment 2: TBD
    • Payments 3-7: July 2024-2028

 

*The CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart proposed settlements are not yet final.

(6) Where can municipalities find further guidance about how to utilize abatement funds?

Municipalities can access support from John Snow Research and Training Institute (JSI) at www.caremass.org and fill out the Request Help form or by emailing abate@jsi.com or by phone (617-385-3655). The team at JSI can provide technical assistance and training related to using these funds in compliance with the State-Subdivision Agreement.

The Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services has created a website with resources and guidance for municipalities. For further information or other technical assistance, municipalities can also email abate@jsi.com.

(7) Do state procurement laws apply to expenditure of municipal abatement funds?

Yes, state procurement laws apply to expenditure of municipal abatement funds, subject to certain permitted exceptions and exemptions.  Exceptions and exemptions that may be relevant to municipalities seeking to expend abatement funds include, for example, an exception for grant agreements between municipalities and nonprofit entities for a public purpose, and an exemption for contracts or agreements entered into by a municipal hospital or a municipal department of health. 

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has published answers to frequently asked questions about use of municipal abatement funds here. In addition, the OIG's Chapter 30B Manual provides helpful guidance on the state laws governing municipal procurement of supplies, services, real property. The OIG has a Chapter 30B team trained in public procurement that can provide you with technical guidance and answer your questions. To speak with someone on the OIG’s procurement team, call 617-722-8838 or email 30BHotline@mass.gov

(8) Where can I find guidance about how to treat municipal abatement funds under state finance law?

The Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services (DLS) published answers to frequently asked questions about municipal treatment of opioid settlement funds in its July 7, 2022 issue of City & Town. 

For answers to finance law questions relating to the municipal abatement funds, local officials should email their question and phone number to the Division of Local Services at DLSlaw@dor.state.ma.us.

(9) Can I find out how much my town has received and who to speak with about the plans to spend it?

Yes. Payments received as of May 31, 2023 are shown here, and the Attorney General’s opioids team can put you in touch with a municipal contact. To speak with someone on the Attorney General’s opioids team, email MAOpioidSettlements@mass.gov.

(10) What about attorney’s fees?

Each of the statewide opioid settlements the Attorney General has negotiated establish attorneys’ fees and costs funds for attorneys representing municipalities that join the settlements and require attorneys who recover from those funds to waive enforcement of their contingency fee entitlements as to all of their clients and notify their clients accordingly.  

The state’s investigation and litigation against the opioid industry is handled by government lawyers in AG Campbell’s office. No money from these Settlements will go to pay any state lawyers.

(11) How can I speak with someone on the Attorney General’s opioids team?

To speak with someone on the Attorney General’s opioids team, please email your contact information and question to MAOpioidSettlements@mass.gov.

(12) Where will settlement recoveries from bankrupt opioid defendants go?

Recoveries from settlements with bankrupt opioid defendants, including Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt, will be spent to address the opioid crisis, in accordance with plans of reorganization approved by the bankruptcy court.

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