Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will pay a total of about $523 million to New York state to settle lawsuits that alleged the Israeli-based company had contributed to the opioid epidemic in the United States.
The $523 million total opioid payout to New York comprises two separate settlement agreements with Teva. The other settlement is a nationwide one reached in July that the company is working to finalize, valued at up to $4.25 billion. New York’s share of that amount is $210,548,226.20, according to Attorney General Letitia James’s office.
The latest settlement with New York state increased Teva’s total opioid payouts by $300 million.
According to James’ office in a release: “After achieving a historic liability verdict following a seven-month jury trial against Teva in 2021, today’s Teva New York Agreement resolves the remedies phase for a total of $313,343,793.95. Combined, New York will receive $523,892,020.15 from Teva.”
Teva produces Actiq and Fentora, drugs that are fentanyl products intended to treat breakthrough pain in cancer patients. It also makes other generic opioids, including oxycodone, which is used to treat moderate to severe pain.
More than $2 billion of opioid settlements secured under James will be used for abatement, treatment, and prevention efforts.
Teva will pay the overall settlement funds to New York over 18 years and expects to start paying in 2023. Teva Chief Executive Kare Schultz told Reuters the time frame is “good for us because it means that it’s very manageable in relation to our cash flow and our debt situation.”
The opting-in process of states and local authorities has begun and would take a few months to complete, Schultz told the newswire service. “We are quite optimistic that we will get a very, very high number of states and subdivisions joining and we will put the majority of opioid litigation behind us.”
The settlement agreement also bars Teva from selling high-dose opioids—greater than 40mg, and using prescription savings programs. It also blocks Teva from marketing opioids, funding third parties that promote opioids. Teva would also be restricted from political lobbying, among other requirements in the agreement.
‘Holding’ Teva Accountable
The settlement concludes the New York attorney general’s litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors. It also “would additionally resolve lawsuits against Teva by Nassau and Suffolk counties if the county legislatures approve it,” James’ office stated.
“We are holding Teva Pharmaceuticals accountable for its role in the opioid crisis and the irreparable harm it has done to New Yorkers, their families, and their communities,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “This company misrepresented its products for decades, flooding the market with dangerous prescription drugs and endangering countless lives.”
States, cities, counties, and tribes in the United States have filed more than 3,000 lawsuits in recent years against opioid manufacturers such as Teva, often alleging them of misrepresenting the level of risk of opioid addiction and failing to stop pills from being diverted for illegal use.
The news comes a day after CVS and Walgreens announced they will pay a total of nearly $10 billion to substantially resolve various opioid-related lawsuits launched against them.
Reuters contributed to this report.