1 drug company settles ahead of San Francisco opioid trial

Apr 20, 2022, 12:59 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2022, 7:55 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Drugmaker Endo Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay the city of San Francisco $10 million over its role in selling prescription opioids in the city.

City Attorney David Chiu announced the settlement Wednesday, five days before a trial is to begin of the city’s claims against other companies in the opioid industry.

Chiu said Endo, the maker of the prescription painkiller Percocet, is to pay $5 million this year and another $5 million over the next decade, with the money being used to fight the opioid epidemic.

The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based company has agreed to nearly $300 million worth of settlements of opioid claims with U.S. government entities since 2019, according to an Associated Press tally. One of them, for $25 million, came just this week with Alabama; that was announced along with about $250 million in agreements between the state and other companies.

An Endo spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

The San Francisco trial is scheduled to open in U.S. District Court on Monday with claims involving the drugmakers Allergan and Teva, distribution company Anda and pharmacy chain Walgreens.

Lawyers for the city are expected to delve into the toll on San Francisco. Last year, Mayor London Breed launched an initiative intended to bring down violence and overdoses in the city’s Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, where about two people a day were dying from overdoses.

One-fourth of the emergency room visits at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are opioid-related, Chiu said Wednesday.

The companies will likely contend that the opioids they shipped and sold were prescribed legally.

It’s among the first wave of federal cases chosen for trial from about 3,000 that were consolidated before a federal judge in Cleveland. Some companies have reached nationwide settlements, but cases involving others are going to trial in courts across the country.

Opioid trials are currently being held in state courts in Florida and West Virginia. Closing arguments in a Washington state case scheduled for this month were recently moved to July. And parties are awaiting a judge’s ruling in another West Virginia trial held last year.

Overdoses from prescription and illicit opioids have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. in the last two decades.

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1 drug company settles ahead of San Francisco opioid trial