The National Prescription Opiate Litigation Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee confirmed that they, alongside the working group of States’ Attorneys General, counsel for Native American Tribes and plaintiffs’ lawyers representing the States and local communities, have reached an agreement in principle with pharmaceutical manufacturer Teva on the primary financial terms of a nationwide opioid settlement. This agreement follows years of litigation naming Teva as a defendant responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic in America.
As part of the agreement to resolve these claims, Teva will pay approximately $3.7 billion, which includes approximately $650,000,000 in funds earmarked for already settled cases along with more than $3 billion in additional abatement funds, evenly spread over 13 years plus relevant legal fees and costs over six years. In addition, there will be approximately $100,000,000 for Native American Tribes. Teva will also offer the option of $1.2 billion worth of its generic version of the drug Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray used to reverse an opioid overdose) over 10 years or, in lieu of the product, an agreed upon cash equivalent.
Statement from National Prescription Opiate Litigation MDL Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee co-leads and negotiation team of: Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy; Paul T. Farrell Jr. of Farrell & Fuller Law LLC; Joe Rice of Motley Rice LLC; Russell Budd of Baron & Budd, P.C.; Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP; Paul Geller of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP; Peter Mougey of Levin Papantonio Rafferty; Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP; Hunter Shkolnik of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC; and Steven Skikos of Skikos, Crawford, Skikos & Joseph LLP:
“Today’s development is a direct result of the years of hard work by community leaders, first responders, and the MDL litigation teams who have dedicated their efforts to gathering the resources necessary to battle the opioid epidemic across the country for years ahead. This latest step will provide additional long overdue support to those on the frontline in thousands of communities who will strongly benefit from the influx of financial and medical resources as they continue their life-saving work. While this settlement will resolve claims against a defendant accused of fueling this epidemic in multiple state and federal trials across the country, the agreement can only go into effect with the support of states, subdivisions, and Native American Tribes. 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. We will continue to work to hold companies up and down the opioid supply chain accountable.”
Announced today by Teva, this settlement is contingent upon the finalization of terms between the working group and Teva. Once the documentation is finalized, the nationwide agreement will then need to be adopted by a sufficient number of states, subdivisions, and Native-American tribes in the United States to take effect. The parties expect that they will have the documentation for the nationwide settlement agreement finalized within the coming weeks, with the nationwide settlement sign-on process for states, subdivisions, and tribes to follow.
Similar to the provisions of the Global Settlement with drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, the settlement will distribute resources based on factors including population and proportionate share of the opioid epidemic impact as measured by overdose deaths and opioid use disorder diagnoses.
This settlement news comes as multidistrict federal litigation and state litigation continues in courtrooms around the country against other companies in the opioid supply chain. Current litigation includes the federal trial in Ohio that found CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart liable for fueling the opioid crisis in Lake County and Trumbull County, and now awaits the judge’s determination of the value of the opioid epidemic abatement funds owed by pharmacy chains to these communities. Another trial in a federal court in San Francisco against Walgreens is also awaiting a bench decision. Teva and Allergan were defendants in that trial until July 12, 2022, when the parties reached a $58M settlement agreement. The New York state trial is also anticipating an abatement trial date this fall following a jury finding in favor of the plaintiffs in December 2021. Teva and Anda are defendants in that case.