Attorney General Josh Stein announces $6.6 billion in agreements with opioid makers

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein(WBTV)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 1:51 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and a bipartisan group of attorneys general announced Friday a second agreement in principle with a drug manufacturer to address the opioid crisis.

Stein’s office says that the proposed settlement would require former opioid maker Allergan to pay up to $2.37 billion to involved states and local governments.

WITN reported on Tuesday that Stein reached a more-than-$4 billion proposed settlement with Teva.

“In 2020, nine North Carolinians died each day from an overdose,” Stein said. “There is no amount of money that could ever repair that kind of loss. But there is hope in recovery – and thanks to our ongoing work to hold these drug companies accountable, people across this state are getting the treatment and support they need to get healthy. And we’re still not done.”

Stein says that once finalized, the Allergan settlement, together with the Teva Pharmaceuticals settlement, would provide as much as $6.6 billion nationwide. Abbvie, which acquired Allergan in 2020, disclosed the agreement in its earnings announcement Friday morning.

Both settlements, we’re told, remain dependent on a resolution of key issues, including details surrounding the settlement structure, which is expected to build upon the framework developed in prior nationwide opioid settlements. Terms are also being negotiated to require business practice changes and transparency.

Stein says that the Teva agreement in principle is conditional, in part, on Allergan reaching its own settlement with the states, which, in addition to North Carolina, are being led by Iowa, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

New York separately settled with Allergan in December 2021 as part of its trial, Stein’s office says.

The states alleged that Allergan:

  • Deceptively marketed opioids by downplaying the risk of addiction, overstating their benefits, and encouraging donors to treat patients showing signs of addiction by prescribing them more opioids
  • Failed to maintain effective controls to prevent diversion of opioids

Stein says the $2.37 billion figure includes money that Allergan has already agreed to pay under settlements with individual states. The two settlements, added to the $26 billion settlement with the drug distributors Mallinckrodt and Johnson and Johnson, would bring the total money secured to more than $34 billion.

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