$161.5 million interim settlement reached in opioid trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Lawyers for the state of West Virginia and two other pharmaceutical companies have reached an interim settlement of $161.5 million just as final arguments were set to begin in a seven-week trial over the opioid epidemic, the attorney general said. Patrick Morrisey said Wednesday.

Morrisey announced the development in court in the state’s lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc., AbbVie’s Allergan and their family of companies. The judge agreed to suspend the trial to give the parties an opportunity to reach a full settlement agreement in the coming weeks.

“We’re very optimistic about our ability to do that,” Morrisey said.

The trial began on April 4. The lawsuit accused the defendants of downplaying the addictive risks associated with opioid use while exaggerating the benefits.

Under the tentative deal, West Virginia would receive more than $134.5 million in cash, while Teva would provide the state with $27 million worth of Narcan, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses. , restore breathing and bring someone back to consciousness.

West Virginia had reached a $99 million settlement last month with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., over the drugmaker’s role in perpetuating the opioid crisis in the US. A condition that has long led the country to drug overdose deaths.

Before the trial began, Morrisey’s office announced that the state had settled part of the lawsuit involving another defendant, Endo Health Solutions, for $26 million.

After years of lawsuits, drugmakers, distribution companies and some pharmacies have settled cases over opioid tolls.

In deals finalized this year, the three largest distribution companies and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson agreed to settlements totaling $26 billion over time. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is in court trying to win approval for a nationwide settlement including up to $6 billion in cash, as well as the use of future profits from a remade version of society to fight the opioid crisis.

In other settlements this year, distributors agreed to pay Washington State, which did not participate in the national settlement with them, more than $500 million, and a group of companies is sending $276 million dollars in Alabama.

In total, proposed and finalized settlements, judgments and criminal penalties for opioids have reached more than $47 billion since 2007. Much of the money is only to be used to deal with the crisis, which has been linked to the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans in the past two decades. A relatively small portion of the settlement money — at least $750 million in the Purdue deal — is to be paid to individual victims and their survivors.

In Charleston, a separate lawsuit ended last summer in a federal lawsuit accusing AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson of fueling the opioid crisis in Cabell County and the city of Huntington. This judge did not indicate when he will rule.

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