Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Funds split equally between Legislature, county and city governments

SEATTLE —  Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that the state, city and county governments in Washington state received a $123.34 million lump sum payment from opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The funds are the latest payments from Ferguson’s litigation against companies that fueled the opioid crisis, and must be split evenly between state and local governments. Ferguson directed the funds must be used to combat the opioid epidemic.

To avoid trial in Ferguson’s 2020 lawsuit, opioid manufacturer and raw material supplier Johnson & Johnson signed a court order in January to pay $123.34 million to Washington state to combat the opioid epidemic, including the fentanyl crisis that is devastating Washington communities. Ferguson directed that 50% of these resources, $61.67 million, go to local governments across the state to combat the epidemic in their communities. The other half goes to the state Legislature. To see what local governments will receive from the Johnson & Johnson case alone, Washingtonians can use this spreadsheet.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office has recovered $1.29 billion so far to address the fentanyl and opioid crisis. Washingtonians can use this chart to see what their local government will receive as a result of the Attorney General’s litigation to combat the opioid epidemic.

Local governments will determine how to spend their share, but those funds must be used to combat the opioid and fentanyl epidemics. The Legislature will determine how the state share is further allocated in communities around the state. All spending decisions must be consistent with the state Opioid Response Plan. Examples of approved programs include substance abuse treatment, housing or other wrap-around services, youth- or tribal-focused prevention programs, support for first responders and other evidence-based programs and services that will help communities heal.

“We stood up to some of the world’s largest corporations that fueled the epidemic in pursuit of profit – and we won more than $1 billion that will help communities recover from the opioid crisis,” Ferguson said. “My team continues to hold these corporations accountable and deliver critical resources that must be used to improve treatment options, support first responders, and address the crisis impacting every community.”

Washington is one of three states receiving more from its resolution with Johnson & Johnson than they would have under a 2021 multistate resolution. Washington would have received $98.9 million total from that proposal, which Ferguson rejected. Further, Johnson & Johnson would have paid that amount over a nine year term.

Instead, Johnson & Johnson is paying Washington $149.5 million, including $26.16 million to cover the cost of bringing the case.

The Attorney General’s Office still has pending litigation against two national pharmacy chains that also helped fuel the epidemic.

Johnson & Johnson’s unique role in proliferating opioids

From the 1990s through at least 2016, Johnson & Johnson, through its subsidiaries, cultivated and processed opium poppy plants and used their raw narcotic materials to manufacture the active ingredients necessary to produce opioid drugs.

In addition to using the processed active ingredients to produce its own opioids, Johnson & Johnson sold them to other major opioid manufacturers for use in making their opioid drugs. The ingredients were used to make oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, naloxone and more.

By 2015, Johnson & Johnson was the top U.S. supplier of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used to make opioid drugs.

Johnson & Johnson’s aggressive marketing of opioids systematically overstated the effectiveness of the drugs for treating pain long term and understated the risk of addiction. Johnson & Johnson marketed its opioid drugs for chronic pain conditions like headaches, low back pain and fibromyalgia, despite evidence that opioids were not effective at treating these conditions.

Johnson & Johnson used both branded marketing and non-branded sources through third-party organizations funded by the company to forward its narrative, like the American Pain Foundation and the American Academy of Pain Management, among others. These efforts included articles in medical journals and publications funded by Johnson & Johnson, materials from professional societies and advocacy groups, and continuing medical education, dinners, seminars, symposiums and conferences paid for by Johnson & Johnson and others.

The third-party groups also funded lobbying efforts to oppose state-level regulation of opioids, including in Washington. For example, the American Pain Foundation provided support to the Washington Pain Alliance to oppose opioid prescription standards in Washington.

Opioid lawsuits resources fund other state agency programs

This year the Legislature appropriated to state agencies more than $52.3 million recovered from previous resolutions with opioid companies to fund programs that will combat the opioid epidemic. The appropriations overall included significant investments to increase access to opioid medication, assist tribal governments, support first responders and educate youth.

This brings the Legislature’s total appropriations from Ferguson’s opioid lawsuits to more than $110 million since 2023.

Highlights from this year’s spending include:

  • $4,458,000 is provided to the Department of Corrections for health care services, with $2,700,000 specifically for approved long-term injectable medication for treatment of opioid use disorder of incarcerated individuals.
  • $2,000,000 is provided to the Health Care Authority for a tribal opioid prevention campaign.
  • $400,000 is provided to increase support for EMS and fire department opioid overdose prevention efforts.
  • $3,000,000 is provided to establish three additional health engagement hub pilot program sites, and $1,500,000 is provided to establish high-intensity community-based teams serving people with opioid use disorder.

Other resolutions

Successful outcomes include:

  • $518 million from distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen.
  • $183 million from manufacturer Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family bankruptcy.
  • $149.5 million from Johnson & Johnson.
  • $120.3 million from Walgreens.
  • $110.6 million from CVS.
  • $62.6 million from Walmart.
  • $50 million from Allergan.
  • $47.5 million from Kroger.
  • $13.5 million from McKinsey, a consulting firm that advised Purdue Pharma.
  • $7.9 million from Publicis Health.
  • $7.7 million from the Mallinckrodt bankruptcy.

Ferguson has rejected national settlements with five corporations, netting Washington more than $180 million more for resources that will improve treatment options, funds for first responders and provide other proven strategies to address the epidemic.

In 2022, Ferguson reached a resolution, pending bankruptcy court approval, requiring Purdue Pharma to pay $183 million to Washington — $113 million more than the national deal. Also in 2022, Ferguson’s case against the three largest opioid distributors —  McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. — led to a $518 million resolution. That was $46 million more for funding to combat the opioid epidemic than the national settlement promised. Ferguson's recent settlement with Johnson & Johnson was $24 million more for opioid abatement funding than the national settlement offer he rejected.



Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

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Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov

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