Teva Pharmaceuticals Holds Responsible In Opioid Crisis: NPR

On October 16, 2013, trucks drive in front of Teva’s pharmaceutical logistics center in Shoam city, Israel. On Thursday, a jury held Teva responsible for contributing to the opioid crisis. Dan Balilty / AP Hide caption

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Dan Balilty / AP

On October 16, 2013, trucks drive in front of Teva’s pharmaceutical logistics center in Shoam city, Israel. On Thursday, a jury held Teva responsible for contributing to the opioid crisis.

Dan Balilty / AP

NEW YORK – Drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals contributed to the opioid crisis, a suburban New York jury ruled Thursday in one of the few verdicts among thousands of nationwide complaints about the pain medication.

A separate process will follow to determine what Teva would pay in the event that New York state and two counties of Long Island acquired a number of pharmaceutical companies.

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In Thursday’s ruling, a Suffolk County jury found the drug company had a role in what is legally termed public harassment, but it resulted in deadly consequences – an opioid use epidemic that has been more than 500,000 deaths in the US has been linked.

“Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and others have misled the American people about the real dangers of opioids,” said James, a Democrat, in a press release. “Today we have taken an important step to redress the injustices this country has suffered collectively over the past two decades.”

Israel-based Teva, which makes drugs containing the strong opioid fentanyl, said it contradicts the judgment “strongly” and plans to appeal.

Plaintiffs presented no evidence of medically unnecessary prescriptions, suspicious or diverted orders, or evidence of oversupply, “and did not show that Teva’s marketing was harming New Yorkers, the company said in a statement. She also advocates wrongdoing based on various issues.

The US-listed Teva share fell after the verdict was announced, ending 6.3% to $ 7.90.

Across the country, state and local governments, Indian tribes, labor unions, school districts and others have sued the pharmaceutical industry over pain medication.

The lawsuit was directed against several pharmaceutical companies

The 2019 New York lawsuit was directed against several opioid manufacturers and retailers, companies that buy drugs in bulk and sell them to pharmacies.

The lawsuit accused the pharmaceutical companies of violating their legal obligations to “benefit from the plague that they knew would be unleashed”. The state and counties said drug manufacturers worked together to mislead people and downplay the serious risks of opioid addiction, and that drug dealers bypassed systems designed to restrict pain reliever ordering.

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Teva is known for making generics, but the lawsuit focused on Actiq and Fentora, two branded fentanyl drugs approved for some cancer patients. Teva repeatedly advertised them for other types of pain in a “deceptive and dangerous marketing strategy,” the lawsuit states.

“They are trying to say that they are selling legal products. The only problem is, they are selling them illegally,” said attorney Hunter Shkolnik, who represented Nassau County, at a virtual press conference on Thursday. “The jury saw that what they are doing is wrong.”

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Teva said Thursday it continues to focus on improving access to essential medicines for patients and believes national regulation of opioid problems is in the best interests of patients.

New York said the behavior of the various opioid companies named in the lawsuit cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in bills for addiction treatment and other expenses. District lawyers suggested that Teva could be held liable for tens of billions of dollars or more in damages.

“The numbers are staggering of what it has cost our communities and what it will continue to cost our communities” in emergency services for overdose victims, drug rehabilitation programs and more, Suffolk County attorney Jayne Conroy said at the virtual press conference.

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Teva was the only manufacturing defendant to remain in the lawsuit after others settled, most recently Allergan Finance LLC in December. The various settlements have grossed up to $ 1.5 billion in New York.

The process started months ago. The jury began deliberating on December 14th and took a few days off at Christmas.

Elsewhere, only a few opioid cases have been decided without a clear consensus on the results.

An Oklahoma judge ruled against drug maker Johnson & Johnson in 2019, but the state’s Supreme Court overturned that decision in November. A week earlier, a California judge had ruled in favor of drug manufacturers – including Teva.

Then, late last month, a Cleveland federal jury sided with two Ohio county governments that had filed claims against pharmacy chains.

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Some observers thought the California and Oklahoma rulings would ruin the idea of ​​using state public harassment laws to prosecute opioid lawsuits, said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who is prosecuting the litigation nationwide.

“But now we really see that that’s not true,” said Tobias at least in some places. He suggested that Thursday’s ruling could reinvigorate such lawsuits.

A case has been completed, but a judge has pending judgment on a case in West Virginia and a case is pending in Washington state. Thousands of other cases are on trial.

There have also been settlements. Some of the biggest names in the industry – such as distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, and drug makers Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals – have made nationwide comparisons with a cumulative value of potentially well over $ 30 billion. Most of the money goes to fighting the epidemic.

But most of these deals have not yet been closed and there has been a very major turnaround. In mid-December, a federal judge rejected OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s comprehensive deal to settle thousands of lawsuits over the toll of opioids.

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