Opioid Drugmaker Agrees to $2.37 Billion Settlement

Drugmaker AbbVie has reached an agreement in principle to settle claims with a number of states and local governments for a reported $2.37 billion.

The settlement will end thousands of lawsuits related to the company’s marketing of opioid drugs by Allergan. That company was acquired by AbbVie after it ceased manufacturing opioids.

The final terms of the complete settlement have not been determined. A bipartisan group of state attorney generals said that the allocation of the settlement funds to each state involved is yet to be finalized.

 

AbbVie disclosed the settlement on Friday in its quarterly earnings report.

The new Allergan settlement and another settlement reached last week with Teva Pharmaceuticals would send up to $6.6 billion to states for distribution. Teva bought the Allergan generic drugs division in 2016. Its settlement was contingent on Allergan also reaching a comprehensive agreement to settle all cases nationwide.

If it receives final approval, the Allergan settlement will conclude active lawsuits that have been filed by more than 3,000 state and local governments. The Allergan settlement amount of $2.37 billion includes some previously settled individual cases, such as one resolved with the New York Attorney General.

Democrat Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller led the settlement efforts and said that the plaintiff governments “worked hard to get the best result for Americans harmed by the opioid crisis.”

The common allegations of the lawsuits claim that Allergan engaged in deceptive marketing practices. They argue that the company downplayed the risk of addiction to the drugs while overstating any benefits they provided.

The cases also allege that Allergan encouraged physicians to treat patients showing signs of addiction by prescribing them even more opioid drugs. Other claims argue that the company did not implement or maintain effective controls to prevent the unlawful diversion of the drugs.

Democrat Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement that there is “no amount of money” that can compensate victims for the company’s decision to “put profits before people’s lives.” He said that he is “encouraged by the potential” of the settlements with Teva and Allergan to provide “critical resources to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.”