Teva Reaches $4.25 Billion Tentative Settlement Over Opioids

Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of generic opioids, announced a settlement in principle with nearly 2,500 local governments, states and tribes over the company’s role in the deadly, ongoing opioid epidemic.

The deal — worth up to $4.25 billion — comes after lawsuits and previous settlements in individual lawsuits across the country have unfolded over the past year.

Although little known, Teva, an Israeli company, and its affiliates produced far more prescription opioids than marquee-name opioid manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson during the peak years of the crisis. Its production of both generic and branded painkillers dwarfed that of Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, which has been linked to preventing an avalanche of immediate overdoses and deaths.

Under the agreement, Teva will make payments over 13 years to state, local and tribal programs directed at reducing the opioid crisis, which has only deepened during the coronavirus pandemic. The $4.25 billion total includes about $550 million that the company already took in while trials were underway in San Francisco as well as Florida. West VirginiaTexas, Louisiana and Rhode Island.

States and communities may choose to accept a portion of their payments in high-volume replacement drugs rather than cash.

The deal was negotiated by representatives of about a dozen state attorneys general. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, whose office was involved in the negotiations, said, “Today’s announcement demonstrates once again that those responsible for this tragic problem will be held accountable and that those affected by the opioid epidemic will receive help. will be provided.” a statement.

“While the settlement will not include any admission of wrongdoing, it is in our best interest to put these cases behind us and focus on the patients we serve every day,” Teva said in a statement. “

About 10 to 12 percent of the money will be earmarked for fees to lawyers who brought cases against the company in 2013, people close to the talks said.

In 2016, Teva acquired Actavis, a generic unit of Allergan. In order to finalize the Teva deal, Allergan must also reach a settlement with those plaintiffs. Lawyers familiar with the negotiations said they hoped an announcement would be made soon.

The deal also depends on a supermajority of state, local and tribal governments voting in favor.

Lawyers on an executive committee negotiating for local governments urged everyone to support the hard-won agreement: “We encourage all of these groups to sign this agreement so that it Resources go into the hands of those who need them,” he said in a statement.

Although that outcome seems likely, one of the dozen states that participated in negotiating the terms has not yet signed on: New York, along with Nassau and Suffolk counties, which opted for a civil jury trial. prevailed against Last December. A spokeswoman for the New York attorney general’s office said New York is still negotiating with the company in the second phase of the lawsuit to determine financial remedies.

Getting an offer accepted by Teva has been a particularly long battle for states, tribes and municipalities that have filed lawsuits against it. While Purdue Pharma, for example, has been associated with aggressive and misleading marketing of its branded drugs to doctors, generic drug makers do not formally make sales calls to them. Teva maintained that it did not market its opioids to physicians.

One of Teva’s earliest settlement offers, in 2019, consisted almost entirely of drugs with little cash. While Johnson & Johnson and the three drug distributors that participated in that initial offering reached an agreement two years later, Teva continued to litigate.

but I December 2020, Senate Finance Committee issued findings that were particularly critical of Teva, among other manufacturers, that it paid millions of dollars to tax-exempt groups that lobbied lawmakers and others, and overcharged patients for pain medications. Pushed for greater access. During the trial, the plaintiffs said Teva, which acquired a dominant position in the generics market by buying up smaller companies, ignored red flags such as orders for oversized pills.