AbbVie Unit Settles New York Opioid Case For $200M as Trial Winds Down

By Brendan Pierson | December 8, 2021

Drugmaker AbbVie Inc agreed to pay $200 million to settle claims by New York that it helped fuel an epidemic of opioid addiction in the state, on the day jurors were expected to hear closing arguments at the end of a five-month trial.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the deal on Wednesday, saying more than $150 million would be used to remedy harms cause opioid addiction. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd remains a defendant in the case, with closing arguments are expected to proceed later in the day.

AbbVie’s Allergan unit said in a statement it was pleased to have reached the settlement. Allergan, which AbbVie acquired in 2020, was the company named in the state and counties’ lawsuit.

James, along with New York’s Nassau and Suffolk Counties, had been seeking to hold Teva and AbbVie responsible for the cost of dealing with opioid addiction.

Israel-based Teva has said it complied with federal regulations and that changing standards of care were behind surging opioid prescriptions.

The case is one of more than 3,300 filed by state, local and tribal governments across the country accusing drugmakers of minimizing the addictiveness of opioid pain medications, and distributors and pharmacies of ignoring red flags that they were being diverted into illegal channels.

More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses during the 12-month period ending April 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report in November, a record driven largely by opioids.

The three largest U.S. drug distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson in July agreed to pay up to $26 billion to resolve the lawsuits against them.

A bankruptcy judge in September approved a settlement by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, including about $4.5 billion from its wealthy Sackler family owners.

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