Pharmaceutical manufacturing giant, Teva has been found guilty of its role in the opioid crisis in the state of New York. In a separate ruling in Ohio, major pharmacies Walgreens, CVS and Walmart have been found liable for helping to create an oversupply of drugs leading to the opioid epidemic. The findings are in addition to others reached in federal and other state courts.
Teva Found Guilty in State of New York Opioid Crisis
A New York jury has ruled that Teva Pharmaceuticals is liable for the costs of decades of opioid addiction and overdose deaths in the state of New York. The jury findings is the final blow to manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies who were named in lawsuits filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
James’ lawsuit filed in March 2019 by the State of New York named six pharmaceutical manufacturers and subsidiaries, four drug distributors and members of the Sackler family, owners of Purdue pharmaceutical company. Aside from Teva, all other defendants had settled by December 2021, with some filing bankruptcy.
Teva was the sole remaining defendant and after the guilty verdict, will face an additional trial to determine amount the company and others will be required to pay. The amount to be determined will be added to the growing pool of $1.5 billion that has already been awarded or negotiated. Teva has said they disagree with the verdict and plan to appeal.
Previous settlements have included $1.1 billion from distributors, Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., and McKesson Corporation, $230 million from Johnson & Johnson, and $50 million from Endo Health Solutions. Purdue Pharma and Rochester Drug Cooperative have declared bankruptcy and settlements are likely to be reached in bankruptcy court, along with independent awards for involvement by the Sackler family.
Major Pharmacies Liable for Contribution to Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic
Three of the largest pharmacies in the U.S. were found guilty for their actions in the opioid crisis in Ohio. A federal court has determined that CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens contributed to an oversupply of addictive opioid medications in two Ohio counties and will be held financially responsible.
The amount of the Ohio jury award has not been determined and the pharmacy companies have objected or indicated they would appeal, though other settlements and awards are already nearing $40 or $50 billion. The lawyers representing the Ohio counties have estimated that the costs for covering services needed due to the crisis is over $1 billion each county.
National Opioid Settlements Reach into $ Billions
About half a million overdose deaths have been attributed to overdose of painkillers including OxyContin and Fentanyl medications in the last two decades. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed across the nation in federal, state, and local courts against those involved in the opioid epidemic.
Government organizations have stated that the actions of pharmaceutical companies, distributors and pharmacies defrauded reimbursement systems and created a huge burden of economic resources required to fight the crisis. Settlements reached with federal and state agencies include over $26 billion to be paid by several large manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions and Purdue Pharma and three drug distributors.
Complicated settlements have also been reached with Purdue where the company has filed for bankruptcy and agreed to refocus part of its business on addiction treatment and avoidance. The Sackler family, founders of Purdue Pharma, has been forced out of the company but may be shielded from part of the financial responsibility for the company’s actions. Other lawsuits are still ongoing.