Teva reaches $225M settlement over Texas opioid claims

Israel-based generic drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals has reached a $225 million settlement with Texas over claims that the company improperly marketed highly addictive painkillers, contributing to the state's opioid crisis.

Teva was accused of downplaying risks of the drugs, marketing opioids for unapproved uses and failing to adhere to safeguards that are intended to prevent the drugs from flooding the market. The terms of the settlement state that Teva will pay Texas $150 million over a 15-year period and will provide $75 million worth of opioid reversal drug, Narcan over the next 10 years. 

“While the settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing by Teva or its affiliates, it remains in the best interest of Teva to put these cases behind us and continue to focus on the patients we serve every day,” said Kare Schultz, president and CEO of Teva.

The settlement with Texas comes after a landmark decision by New York state in December that found the American division of the company responsible for the opioid crisis in the state.

New York state filed the lawsuit in May 2017, naming Teva and other household pharma names like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo as defendants. In 2019, Teva was exploring the possibility of settlement through the donations of up to $15 billion in generic drugs, including medications that reverse opioid overdose.

Most defendants agreed to settle. Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $230 million; Allergan agreed to a $200 million settlement. Total combined settlements were over $1 billion.

More decisions came in January when Johnson & Johnson was required to pay the state of Oklahoma for the company’s role in their opioid crisis. In California, a state judge delivered a win for pharma companies after ruling that several companies, including Teva, could not be held responsible for the opioid epidemic.

With other opioid-related suits filed across the country, it does not appear as though Teva is out of the woods yet.