Teva, the Israeli pharmaceutical giant which manufactures opioids, has proposed a settlement to cover the thousands of outstanding lawsuits against them from states, cities, and families who allege the company conspired to see the pills overprescribed while marketing them as safe and non-addictive.
If accepted, this lawsuit will provide $1.2 billion in Narcan — a medical treatment to reverse opioid overdose — in addition to $3 billion in payments to states and local governments. Teva will also give $100 million to Native American communities. All payments will be made over a 13-year period.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Hopkins cautioned that Teva has previously proposed national settlements that, failing to convince enough states to sign on, never materialized. But a statement from the working group of attorneys representing the thousands of litigants reads positive about the prospects of this deal being closed and is already urging participants to become signatories.
“We encourage all these groups to sign onto this agreement to allow these resources to get into the hands of those who need them as fast as possible. While this agreement is a vital step, we also recognize that this alone will not put an end to the opioid epidemic,” the statement reads.
The drug manufacturer has previously paid out $1.2 billion to the federal government, hundreds of millions to states like Oklahoma and Texas, and settled a lawsuit in 2019 for $69 million after the state of California alleged the company was paying other manufacturers to suppress and delay the release of generic drugs for which Teva held the patent. Xavier Becerra, the Biden Administration’s Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, California’s Attorney General at the time, determined that the company had been inducing a six-year monopoly on the sale of Provigil, a brand name for the drug modafinil. Nationwide, the company racked up at least $1.7 billion in settlement payments as subdivisions, states, and the federal government filed their own lawsuits.
According to a 2013 report, pharmaceutical companies make close to $100 billion in profit from anticompetitive reverse settlements. The average brand-name drug is ten times more expensive than its generic counterpart.
Teva is actively negotiating a separate settlement with the state of New York.