Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The Cherokee Nation announced a settlement Tuesday with three of the nation's largest distributors of opioids.
In a statement, the Cherokee Nation said the settlement with AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson includes a payment of $75 million to be paid over six and a half years, marking the "largest settlement in Cherokee Nation history."
"Today's settlement will make an important contribution to addressing the opioid crisis in the Cherokee Nation Reservation; a crisis that has disproportionately and negatively affected many of our citizens," Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. "This settlement will enable us to increase our investments in mental health treatment facilities and other programs to help our people recover."
The companies issued their own statement saying they view the settlement as "an important step toward reaching a broader settlement" with other Native American tribes.
"While the companies strongly dispute the allegations against them, they believe this resolution will allow the companies to focus their attention and resources on the safe and secure delivery of medications and therapies while delivering meaningful relief to affected communities, and will also support efforts to achieve a broad resolution with the remaining Native American tribes," they wrote.
The Cherokee Nation noted that Tuesday's settlement is separate from similar claims brought by state and local governments as well as other Native American nations.
It also added that other claims against pharmacies such as Walmart, Walgreens and CVS remain pending and are expected to go to trial next fall.
"The Cherokee Nation intends to vigorously pursue those claims through trial," the nation said.