The New Orleans-area system of primary care clinics for the poor and underinsured will receive an $8.3 million infusion as part of the settlement in a class-action lawsuit against health-care and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Pursuant to an order by U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, Daughters of Charity will receive $1 million toward construction of a permanent primary-care clinic in eastern New Orleans. The remaining $7.3 million will be transferred to the Louisiana Public Health Institute, a non-profit which will determine how the money is distributed among primary care clinics that concentrate their efforts on patients without private insurance.
According to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the disbursements will target the 9th Ward and eastern New Orleans, areas that have had a lack of health care services since Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Landrieu had this to say about the effect of the settlement:
This charitable health care fund brings us one step closer to building a full-service hospital in New Orleans East and will also provide health care for those who are underserved in our community.
Judge Fallon approved the latest distribution upon the recommendation of a joint team of lawyers representing both the Plaintiffs and Defendants in the case, which arose from scores of deaths and complications traced to Propulsid, once a popular heartburn drug.
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