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Attorney General Josh Stein talks opioid settlement, Google antitrust suit: 2 Wants to Know

Attorney General Josh Stein joined 2 Wants to Know to discuss the recent opioid settlement and a multi-state lawsuit against Google.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein recently led a $26 billion agreement with four drug distributors, including Johnson & Johnson.

Of that money, $750 million is coming to North Carolina. This was part of Stein's efforts to address the opioid epidemic in the state. 

“The opioid epidemic has torn families apart and killed thousands of North Carolinians,” Stein said. "While no amount of money will ever be enough, this settlement will force these drug companies to pay a historic amount of money to bring much-needed treatment and recovery services to North Carolina communities and to change their business practices so that something like this never happens again.” 

Stein partnered with attorneys general from across the country in the agreement. 

Stein also negotiated a $4.5 billion bankruptcy plan with Purdue Pharma. The plan brings about an additional $100 million to North Carolina for opioid addiction treatment.

"Purdue Pharma helped to create and fuel the opioid epidemic that is responsible for the death or sickness of millions of Americans," Stein said.  "Purdue pushed incredibly addictive and deadly painkillers on the public to make billions of dollars for itself and its owners, as our lawsuit alleges. Meanwhile, North Carolina families paid the price, torn apart by addiction."

Stein, along with 36 other attorneys general, also recently sued Google for antitrust violations. The suit alleges that Google unfairly restricted competition, which allowed them to drive up app prices on Google Play.

“No matter how big a company is, it has to play by the rules,” Stein said. “Google isn’t. It is using its monopoly power to cut off competition and increase its power and profits at the expense of North Carolina consumers by forcing Google Play Store customers to overpay for apps."

Stein sued Google in 2020 for other antitrust violations.

Stein's office reached two settlements as part of Operation Root Canal. Operation Root Canal began in 2019. It is an NC Department of Justice effort to fight dental Medicaid fraud. 

The settlements ProHealth Dental Inc. and Henry Davis, Jr. The settlements won $75,000 for the state. The program has won more than $7 million.

“My office will hold accountable any dental provider who defrauds the Medicaid program and wastes resources,” Stein said.

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