Factbox: Pharmacies and drug companies settle lawsuits over US opioid crisis

NOVEMBER 22 (Reuters) – The protracted five-year legal battle over the US opioid crisis appears to be entering its final phase with finalized agreements between Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA) and AbbVie Inc (ABBV.N).

There are preliminary agreements by CVS Health Corp (CVS.N), Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N) to settle with state, local and tribal governments.

Smaller pharmacy operators including Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) and Kroger Co (KR.N) have yet to settle. But the deal by the country’s largest retail pharmacies complements previous agreements with drugmakers and the largest US distributors. Below are major companies accused of contributing to the crisis and settlements or judgments affecting those companies. All have denied the allegations.


CVS, Walgreens and Walmart:

– Agreed in principle to pay a total of $13.8 billion to resolve claims against them nationwide.

-Sentenced to pay two Ohio counties a combined $650.6 million in August after a jury found them liable for fueling opioid addiction.

Reached separate settlements with Florida, with CVS agreeing to pay $484 million in March, Walgreens agreeing to pay $683 million in May, and Walmart agreeing to pay $215 million last month. Part of Walgreens’ settlement with Florida was also included in the statewide deal announced this week.

-CVS and Walmart, but not Walgreens, settled with West Virginia for $82.5 million and $65 million, respectively.

-All three pharmacy chains, along with Rite Aid, agreed in July 2021 to collectively pay $26 million to settle claims from New York counties of Suffolk and Nassau.


Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N), AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N) and McKesson Corp (MCK.N), the nation’s largest drug wholesalers:

-Agreed in July 2021 on a proposed $21 billion nationwide settlement that was finalized in February.

-Reached separate settlements with plaintiffs who refused to join the statewide settlement, including $518 million for Washington state in May, $250 million for Oklahoma in June, and $400 million for cities and counties in West Virginia in August.

– Settlement in February with hundreds of Native American tribes for $440 million, in addition to a $75 million deal with the Cherokee Nation in September 2021.

– Settled with two counties in Ohio for $215 million on the eve of trial in 2019.

– Successful in June after a trial without a jury against claims by a West Virginia city and county for $2.5 billion.

-McKesson agreed to pay Alabama $141 million in April.


Purdue Pharma LP:

– Agreed to a $6 billion statewide settlement in May as part of its bankruptcy plan, funded by Sackler family owners, who are protected from future liability. The deal cannot go through unless a federal appeals court reinstates the Sacklers’ legal protections, which a federal judge has ruled illegal.

– In November 2020, filed a guilty plea to three counts of violating a federal statute against kickbacks, fraud against the United States and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.


-Agreed in July 2021 on a proposed $5 billion nationwide settlement that was finalized in February.

– Achieved separate comparisons with holdout states, including $40.5 million for New Hampshire in September, $70.3 million for Alabama in April, and $99 million for West Virginia in April.

-The Oklahoma Supreme Court in November 2021 reversed a $465 million judgment the state won after a 2019 trial.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA)

– US$4.25 billion in nationwide claims completed in November, part of which will be paid as a supply of the drug naloxone to reverse an overdose. The deal includes previously announced settlements with West Virginia, Texas, Florida, Rhode Island, Louisiana and San Francisco.

– Agreed to pay an additional $100 million to settle claims by Native American tribes.

– Found liable by a New York jury for fueling opioid addiction in that state, dollar amount to be determined at a later trial.

AbbVie Inc (ABBV.N)

-In November, completed a $2.37 billion nationwide settlement resolving claims against Allergan, a company it acquired in 2020. The deal includes previous agreements with states including New York.

Endo International Plc (ENDPQ.PK)

– A $450 million settlement was reached in August in a more than 30-state bankruptcy filing.

-Settlements were reached with individual plaintiffs prior to the bankruptcy, including $35 million for two counties in Tennessee in July 2021, $50 million for New York and two of its counties in September 2021, $63 million for Texas in December 2021 and $65 million for Florida in January.

Mallinckrodt Plc (MNK.A)

-Reached a $1.7 billion statewide settlement as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan, approved in February.

– A California judge dismissed claims by several major counties against J&J, Teva, Endo and AbbVie after a trial without a jury last November.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson and Dietrich Knauth in New York, Nate Raymond in Boston and Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Edited by Bill Berkrot and Lisa Shumaker

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Brendan Pierson

Thomson Reuters

Brendan Pierson covers product liability litigation and all aspects of healthcare law. He can be reached at [email protected]