Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $85 million to the state of Oklahoma to settle claims related to the company’s marketing and distributing of opioids, which led to overdose deaths and economic hardships within the state amid the national opioid epidemic. The settlement was reached Sunday, two days before a landmark trial against opioid makers was scheduled to begin.
Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid OxyContin, was also named in the case. The company settled for $270 million in March. Johnson & Johnson is the only drug company left to face trial, which will be the first state trial aimed at forcing drug companies to take ownership for their role in creating and worsening the opioid crisis. There is still the possibility that Johnson & Johnson will settle the case before it is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 28. [Update: J&J did not settle; trial began in Oklahoma today.]
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter originally filed the lawsuit against the three drug companies in 2017.
“Nearly all Oklahomans have been negatively impacted by this deadly crisis and we look forward to Tuesday, where we will prove our case against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries,” Hunter said in a statement.
It could take up to two weeks for the terms of the settlement to be finalized, but once the money is received, it will go to the state and be directed to “abate the opioid crisis in Oklahoma,” Hunter said.
More than 40 other states have filed lawsuits against opioid makers. The suits seek compensation for medical, law enforcement, and treatment-related costs spanning two decades. About 1,600 local governments and Native American tribes have filed similar lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies seeking compensation for similar damages. Those lawsuits have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation in Ohio federal court.
Because of the enormity of the opioid litigation our firm has an “Opioid Litigation Team” consisting of Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton and Jeff Price. Our firm represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities. Individual claims on behalf of victims are also being handled by the team. If you need more information on the opioid litigation contact one of these lawyers at 800-898-2034.