Iowa and local governments are set to receive $42.6 million from a settlement with an opioid manufacturer and a pharmaceutical company that was finalized this week.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has announced a final settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against Allergan, which is now part of AbbVie, and Teva Pharmaceuticals for its role in the ongoing opioid epidemic. A dozen states, including Iowa, argued the companies failed to take sufficient action in preventing opioid drugs from being diverted to illegal trade.
In total, the settlements will provide around $6.6. billion nationwide.
“These settlements will not only provide $6.6 billion nationally to address the opioids crisis, but they will also require changes to reduce the risk of addicting patients,” Miller said in a statement. “We held Teva and Allergan accountable for deceptively marketing opioids and failing to maintain effective controls to prevent diversion. And we will continue to ensure victims of this epidemic receive the help they need.”
Ireland-based Allergan, which was acquired by the pharmaceutical company AbbVie, formerly made generic opioids as well as the Norco- and Kadian-branded medications.
Allergan sold its generics portfolio, including its opioid products, to Israel-based Teva in 2016. Teva manufactures a number of generic opioids as well as branded drugs that include fentanyl products, which are meant for cancer pain.
Teva has agreed to pay a maximum of $4.25 billion in cash over 13 years, which includes amounts from other settlements with individual state, according to the news release from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. The company is also required to provide up to $1.2 billion in generic naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, over a 10-year period. States can opt out and receive $240 million of cash in lieu of the product.
Under this agreement, Teva must also meet a number of requirements laid out by the state attorneys general. That includes a stop to their promotion of opioids, an end to their lobbying around opioids and a requirement to no longer manufacture oxycodone pills over 40 milligrams, among other demands.
Allergan will pay up to $2.37 billion to participating states and local governments over seven years under this agreement, which includes settlement amounts already reached with individual states, according to the news release.
According to the final agreement, Allergan is required to stop selling opioids. The company must not provide funding to third parties promoting opioids and can’t conduct lobbying activities related to opioids, among other requirements.
Iowa saw 470 drug overdose deaths last year, up from 419 in 2020 and 350 in 2019.
It’s estimated the opioid crisis has caused more than 500,000 deaths nationwide over the past two decades. In recent years, many of these fatalities have involved fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that has appeared in illegal drug markets throughout the U.S. at increasing rates.