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Morrisey Announces $161.5M Settlement With Pair Of Drug Manufacturers

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey gives opening arguments Monday, April 4, 2022. on the first day of the trial against Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc., Allergan and their family of companies accused of misrepresenting the risks and benefits of opioids, in the Kanawha County Courthouse in Charleston, W.Va. (Kenny Kemp/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Wednesday that the state has reached a $161,531,000 settlement with drug manufacturers Teva and Allergan.

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

The cash value alone, the attorney general’s office said, is believed to be the highest per capita settlement in the nation. That brings the total amount of settlement dollars West Virginia will receive from drug manufacturers to more than $296 million.

“It’s been a long trial and, as we have said from the very beginning, we are looking for accountability,” 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.”

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. Morrisey will also work with the Legislature to gain support behind certain provisions of the MOU.

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.

Throughout the trial, which began on April 4, Morrisey and his office’s attorneys have alleged the manufacturers 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. In making its case, the State presented 54 witnesses and approximately 630 documents into evidence in a span of six weeks.

The State had also sued Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an opioid drug manufacturer family of companies, but the State and Janssen announced a historic $99 million settlement on April 18.

The overall amount secured thus far from opioid manufacturers and related parties is $10 million from McKinsey, $26 million from Endo, $99 million from Janssen and $161,531,000 from Teva and Allergan for a total of $296,531,000.

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