(Central Square) — Attorney General Ken Paxton has received about $1 billion more in additional money to settle opioids for Texas, bringing the total settlement of multiple lawsuits to almost $3 billion.
The latest opioid settlement agreements reached by his office are with Allergen, CVS and Walgreens.
Texas has joined international deals with these companies for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic, including a $2.37 billion national deal with opioid maker Allergan and a $10.7 billion deal with pharmaceutical giants CVS and Walgreens.
Through these settlements, Texas and local governments will receive more than $135 million from Allergan over seven years. They will also receive over $304 million from CVS over 10 years and $340 million from Walgreens over 15 years.
Allergen previously manufactured opioids under the Norco and Kadian brands and marketed its generic opioids to Teva in 2016. Last year, several states entered into joint agreements with Allergan and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Last February, Texas settled separately with Teva, and Teva agreed to pay Texas $150 million in cash and provide $75 million worth of Narcan, a life-saving nasal spray used to treat opioid overdoses, including fentanyl.
“The Coalition of States alleged that Allergan fraudulently sold opioids by downplaying the risk of addiction, exaggerating their benefits, and encouraging doctors to treat patients with signs of addiction by prescribing more opioids,” Paxton’s office said in a statement. “They also argued that Allergan failed to put in place effective controls to prevent diversion of opioids.”
The settlements help hold “those who created and exacerbated this crisis” accountable, bring justice to “those affected by Allergan’s reckless actions,” “provide the means to stop the irresponsible distribution of opioids,” and help Texans fight back, Paxton said. with addiction.
The settlement agreement with Allergan requires it to share clinical data through a third-party archive and disclose documents through a public repository. It also prohibits Allergan from selling opioids, funding or providing grants to third parties to promote opioids, or lobbying for opioid-related issues.
“Every single day, Americans of all backgrounds suffer from opioid addiction and its devastating effects,” Paxton added. “The tragic and infuriating reality is that this epidemic did not happen by chance. There are companies that have played a role in the worsening, and in many cases the emergence, of opioid addiction. They need to be held accountable, and CVS and Walgreens are no exception.”
In addition to agreeing to pay nearly $11 billion in fines to states, CVS and Walgreens were required to monitor, report and share data on suspicious activity related to opioid prescriptions as part of their settlement agreements.
Once states have joined the settlement, local governments also have the option to join. Depending on how many agreements are signed across the country, CVS and Walgreens payments could begin in the second half of 2023.
Nearly all of the money in the account is earmarked for use in prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services.
To date, investigations and lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry for its role in the opioid crisis have resulted in more than $50 billion being paid to states.
Among them, Paxton negotiated almost $3 billion for Texas through agreements with Walgreens, CVS, Allergen, Walmart, Mallinckrodt, Teva, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, and McKinsey.