Tentative $161.5 million settlement reached in opioid trial

AG Morrisey says it’s the highest per capita settlement in the nation.
Historic opioid settlement reached in West Virginia
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 9:19 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Attorneys for the state of West Virginia and two remaining pharmaceutical manufacturers have reached a tentative $161.5 million settlement just as closing arguments were set to begin in a seven-week trial over the opioid epidemic, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Wednesday.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and his office’s lawyers argued drug manufacturers Teva and Allergan helped fuel the opioid epidemic in West Virginia by engaging in strategic campaigns to deceive prescribers and misrepresent the risks and benefits of opioid painkillers.

The lawsuit against Teva and Allergen was filed in 2019 in Boone County Circuit Court. It alleged the defendants concealed misconduct, mischaracterized and failed to disclose the serious risk of addiction, overstated the benefits of chronic opioid therapy and promoted higher dosage amounts without disclosing inherently greater risks.

In making its case, the State presented 54 witnesses and approximately 630 documents into evidence in a span of six weeks.

According to the settlement, West Virginia will receive payments totaling more than $134,531,000 in cash over the length of the agreement provided that the State has received sign-ons from its political subdivisions.

“It’s been a long trial and, as we have said from the very beginning, we are looking for accountability,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This settlement, along with other settlements we will receive from other cases, will provide significant help to those affected the most by the opioid crisis in West Virginia. I’ve always said that at the end of the day, through our Office’s opioid work, West Virginia will have the highest per capita settlement results in the nation fighting for our people.”

Teva, as part of the settlement, will also supply West Virginia with $27 million worth of Narcan.

The cash value of the settlement is believed to be the highest per capita settlement in the nation, according to Attorney General Morrisey.

The monies from the settlement will be distributed under the terms of the West Virginia First Memorandum of Understanding. Announced in mid-February, the MOU is an agreement with cities and counties on how future settlement dollars would be used to abate the opioid crisis throughout the state. It contains a comprehensive road map to abate the massive problems caused by the flood of opioids into West Virginia. The State’s counties and cities are in the process of approving the West Virginia First MOU.

The State had also sued Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an opioid drug manufacturer family of companies.

A settlement in that was reached on April 18 totaling $99 million.

WV AG announces $99 million settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals

The overall amount secured thus far from opioid manufacturers and related parties is:

  • McKinsey $10,000,000
  • Endo $26,000,000
  • Johnson & Johnson $99,000,000
  • Teva, Allergan $161,531,000

Total: $296,531,000

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