Two pharmaceutical companies that formerly produced opioid drugs tentatively agreed to pay $161 million to West Virginia, one of the states most affected by the opioid epidemic. The announced settlement, made May 25, totals $161 million and will be paid by Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, a subunit of AbbVie Pharmaceuticals.
Approximately $27 million of the settlement total will be delivered in the form of Narcan, a drug that can help reverse opioid overdoses. Narcan will be supplied by Teva, which makes medications with the powerful opioid, fentanyl. Under the deal, Teva will pay an additional $56 million in cash while Allergan, which formerly manufactured or produced the opioid drugs Vicodin and Vicoprofen, will pay the remaining $51 million.
The settlement, which is one of several around the nation that has been brokered between drug manufacturers, distributors, retail pharmacies and municipalities affected by the opioid crisis, was reached just before closing arguments were set to begin in an opioid trial in West Virginia.
The trial had lasted seven weeks and accused manufacturers of intensifying the opioid epidemic by grossly understating the risks of the highly-addictive painkillers. More than 50 witnesses testified at the trial, and over 600 documents were presented as evidence.
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2019, also alleged that Teva and Allergan “concealed misconduct, mischaracterized and overstated the benefits of chronic opioid therapy and promoted higher dosage amounts without disclosing inherently greater risks,” Charleston, WV-based WSAZ, reported.
West Virginia has received 2.25% of national opioid settlement money. Teva and Allergan will pay the cash value of the settlement over 10 years, which is “by far, the highest per capita settlement in the nation,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement.
Teva and Allergan face more than 3,500 additional opioid lawsuits. Both companies are considering paying at least $5 billion to resolve the litigation, Bloomberg recently reported.
In April, Johnson & Johnson paid the state of West Virginia nearly $100 million to resolve opioid litigation there. The state has also reached opioid settlements with drug distributor McKinsey for $10 million and Endo Pharmaceuticals for $26 million.