Drugmaker Teva latest to settle opioid lawsuits nationally

Jul 26, 2022, 4:38 PM | Updated: 4:54 pm

Drugmaker Teva announced Tuesday that it has agreed to contribute more than $4.3 billion in cash and medications to settle lawsuits in the state and local governments and Native American tribes that claimed the company contributed to the U.S. opioid epidemic.

The deal in principle would rank among the larger ones so far in a yearslong trend of companies settling the complicated lawsuits over the toll from an addiction and overdose epidemic, which has been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the last two decades.

In their lawsuits, state governments and others claimed the Israel-based company promoted Actiq and Fentora, prescription opioids approved to treat cancer pain, plus generic opioids including oxycodone for use for non-cancer purposes. The states also said the company downplayed the addiction risks and encouraged doctors to continue to increase the doses they prescribed. The states claimed the company and its distributor, Anda, failed to comply with requirements on monitoring and reporting suspicious orders.

The multibillion-dollar settlement is to be paid over 13 years, with most of the money going to fight the opioid epidemic. The settlement includes providing up to $1.2 billion worth of naloxone, a drug that reverses overdoses, at no charge — although states could take a smaller amount of cash instead, if they choose. It also includes the payouts from several settlements the company has recently reached with individual states.

New York is not included in the settlement, although the parties say negotiations with that state are continuing. A jury there last year found the company liable in a trial involving claims from the state government and two counties. The trial will go to a damages phase if a settlement isn’t reached with Teva before then.

Teva said it does not expect to stand trial on any other opioid claims this year, even as cases involving claims against other companies continue to go to court.

“While the agreement will include no admission of wrongdoing, it remains in our best interest to put these cases behind us and continue to focus on the patients we serve every day,” Teva said in a statement.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, one of the chief negotiators, said the settlement would help address the crisis, which has become more deadly in recent years. “Every week I meet people whose lives have been torn apart by the opioid epidemic,” Stein said in a statement. “Far too many families and friends have experienced painful loss to overdose. But I also meet inspiring people who are living happy lives in recovery — and this agreement will help thousands more North Carolinians get the treatment and support they need to free themselves of addiction.”

For the deal to be finalized, it needs approval from state and local governments and tribes.

“While this agreement is a vital step, we also recognize that this alone will not put an end to the opioid epidemic,” lead lawyers representing local governments said in a statement. “We will continue to work to hold companies up and down the opioid supply chain accountable.”

There have been more than $40 billion worth of proposed and completed settlements over opioid claims in recent years, according to an Associated Press tally.

Earlier this year, drugmaker Johnson & Johnson finalized a $5 billion settlement, and the three national drug distribution firms — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — finalized one worth a total of $21 billion. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is trying to persuade a court to let it move ahead with a deal that could include up to $6 billion in cash from members of the Sackler family who own the company. That potential deal would also transform the company into a new entity with profits used to combat the crisis.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...

Associated Press

Saudi Arabia reducing global oil supply, could spell higher prices for US drivers

Saudi Arabia will reduce how much oil it sends to the global economy, taking a unilateral step to prop up the sagging price of crude.

17 hours ago

This photo provided by Robert Wilkes, owner of a house boat management company, shows smoke rising ...

Associated Press

Houseboats catch fire while docked at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell

More than half a dozen house boats momentarily caught fire at a popular boating destination on the Utah-Arizona line on Friday.

3 days ago

File - Women work in a restaurant kitchen in Chicago, Thursday, March 23, 2023. On Friday, the U.S....

Associated Press

US hiring, unemployment jump in May and what that says about the economy

The nation’s employers stepped up their hiring in May, adding a robust 339,000 jobs, well above expectations.

3 days ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Associated Press

Oath Keeper from Arizona sentenced for role in Jan. 6 riot at US Capitol

Edward Vallejo, a U.S. Army veteran from Phoenix, oversaw a “Quick Reaction Force” at a Virginia hotel that was prepared to deploy an arsenal of weapons into Washington if needed, authorities say.

4 days ago

FILE - U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz listens during a news conference, Jan. 5, 2023, in Washi...

Associated Press

US Border Patrol chief is retiring after seeing through end of Title 42 immigration restrictions

The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced Tuesday that he was retiring, after seeing through a major policy shift that seeks to clamp down on illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border following the end of Title 42 pandemic restrictions.

5 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., on the House steps as...

Associated Press

House OKs debt ceiling bill to avoid default, sends Biden-McCarthy deal to Senate

The House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package late Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

...

re:vitalize

Why drug-free weight loss still matters

Wanting to lose weight is a common goal for many people as they progress throughout life, but choosing between a holistic approach or to take medicine can be a tough decision.

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...

Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.

Drugmaker Teva latest to settle opioid lawsuits nationally