In the wake of a flurry of high-profile trials and settlements in individual instances around the nation, a $4.25 billion agreement was struck.
When the problem was at its most severe in the late 1990s, Teva, an Israeli business, and its affiliates generated significantly more prescription opioids than Johnson & Johnson and other well-known producers. Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for the OxyContin overdoses and fatalities that followed, was dwarfed in terms of generic and branded painkiller manufacturing by this company.
Teva will provide 13-year payments to state, municipal, and tribal governments in an effort to alleviate the opioid issue, which has become worse during the coronavirus outbreak. It includes the almost $550 million in settlements that the business had previously reached as trials in San Francisco and other states got started in the U.S.
States and localities have the option of accepting overdose reversal drugs in lieu of cash for a part of their compensation.
About a dozen state attorneys general were involved in the negotiations that led to this agreement. Another sign that “those guilty for this awful crisis will be held accountable,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement. “Help will be accessible to individuals who have been impacted by the opioid epidemic,” he added.
Despite the fact that the deal will not contain any admission of guilt, it is in our best interest to put these lawsuits behind us and continue to concentrate on the people we serve every day,” Teva said.
About 10% to 13% of the settlement money would go to the attorneys who launched the lawsuits against the corporation in 2013, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
Allergan’s generics business, Actavis, was purchased by Teva in 2016. Allergan must also negotiate a settlement with these claimants before Teva’s transaction can be completed. It is believed that an announcement would be made shortly, according to lawyers acquainted with the discussions.
The agreement is also subject to approval by a large majority of state, municipal, and tribal governments.
“We encourage all these parties to sign onto this agreement to enable these resources to reach into the hands of people who need them as quickly as possible,” the lawyers on an executive committee negotiating for local governments said in a statement.
One of the dozen states that negotiated the terms of the agreement, New York, together with Nassau and Suffolk counties, which won a civil jury trial against Teva in December, has yet to sign on. A spokesperson for the New York attorney general’s office said the state is still in negotiations with the firm ahead of a second part of the trial to establish financial remedies.
The states, tribes, and municipalities who filed lawsuits against Teva had an especially difficult time getting them to make an acceptable offer. Manufacturers of generic medications don’t conduct sales calls to physicians, unlike Purdue Pharma, which has been connected with aggressive and deceptive marketing of its branded pharmaceuticals. It was Teva’s position that it did not sell its opioids to physicians.
For the first time in 2019, a Teva settlement offer contained nearly entirely of drugs and some cash. However, two years after that first offer, Teva proceeded to sue against Johnson & Johnson and the other three medication distributors that participated in it.
When the Senate Finance Committee issued its findings in December 2020, they slammed Teva for paying millions of dollars to tax-exempt entities that lobbied senators and others, arguing for wider access to pain drugs for patients. Plaintiffs said in court that Teva, which acquired smaller firms to gain a foothold in the generics industry, had failed to notice warning signs including unusually large pill orders.