Baltimore Sun

Pharmaceut­ical firm, states cut deal over marketing, safety of generic opioids

- By Mark Scolforo

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A former opioid manufactur­er has agreed in principle to pay up to $2.4 billion in a deal with a dozen states over its marketing and product safety practices, state attorneys general announced Friday.

The company, Allergan, is now part of AbbVie but sold its generics division Actavis, including its opioid products, to Teva Pharmaceut­icals

six years ago. Under the settlement, payments will be made to state and local government­s, Pennsylvan­ia Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

The agreement means pharma companies have consented to pay more than $40 billion to settle claims regarding opioid manufactur­ers and distributo­rs, The Associated Press has found.

The agreement came days after a similar, $4.3 billion agreement was reached with Teva Pharmaceut­icals.

Shapiro said the settlement involved claims that Allergan, which produced Norco and Kadian brand generic opioids, downplayed the risk of addiction in marketing and did not act sufficient­ly to prevent the drugs from being improperly diverted.

“No amount of money will bring back the lives we lost, but today’s agreement will help ensure we can fund the programs Pennsylvan­ia counties need for our communitie­s to recover from this crisis,” Shapiro said in a statement.

Negotiatio­ns with Allergan and Teva continue over their business practices and transparen­cy, Shapiro’s office said.

It’s a national agreement that involves California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachuse­tts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Other states will be able to sign on, Shapiro spokeswoma­n Jacklin Rhoads said.

The opioid addiction and overdose epidemic has been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the last two decades.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said Friday that over 2020, nine people in his state died daily from overdoses.

“There is no amount of money that could ever repair that kind of loss, but there is hope in recovery — and thanks to our ongoing work to hold these drug companies accountabl­e, people across this state are getting the treatment and support they need to get healthy,” Stein said.

Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson finalized a $5 billion settlement earlier this year. National drug distributi­on firms Amerisourc­eBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson finalized one worth $21 billion. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is trying to persuade a court to let it move ahead with a deal that could include up to $6 billion from members of the Sackler family.

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