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Pennsylvania, other states reach deal over marketing, safety of generic opioids

MARK SCOLFORO
Associated Press

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 opioid crisis claims regarding manufacturers and distributors, The Associated Press has found.

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

Teva spokesperson Kelley Dougherty declined comment.

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.

Shapiro

It's a global 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. New York settled with Allergan in December.

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.