Generic opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and a group of corporately linked companies have agreed to pay $85 million to settle their portion of a lawsuit in which they and other drug companies were accused of creating a multibillion-dollar public nuisance that led to thousands of Oklahoma deaths and addictions, The Oklahoman reports. Details are expected to be submitted to Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman for approval, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced Sunday. The agreement was announced two days before the drug companies were scheduled to go to trial.
The agreement will cover Teva; Cephalon, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; ActavisLLC; and Actavis Pharma, Inc., all of which will be dropped from the state’s lawsuit. Hunter expects the settlement to be paid in cash. Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals head another group of opioid manufacturers that are still slated to go to trial Tuesday. Nationwide, opioids were involved in more than 47,000 overdose deaths in 2017 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 2011-2015, more than 2,100 Oklahomans died of an unintentional prescription opioid overdoses. Hunter sued more than a dozen opioid manufacturers, accusing them of causing the opioid crisis through misleading marketing campaigns that understated the addictive properties of powerful painkillers while overstating their therapeutic benefits. Attorneys for the state expect it will take between $12.7 billion and $17.5 billion over 20-30 years to abate Oklahoma’s opioid problem.