In response to the national opioid crisis, more than two thousand U.S. states, counties, and cities have filed lawsuits against companies that manufacture or distribute opioid medications.
This year has seen several rulings and settlements related to these lawsuits, with several major developments occurring in Ohio. Let’s take a look at a few of the particular stories centered around these lawsuits.
More Than $23 Billion Could Go Toward Addiction Treatment After Settlements
Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties have reached a settlement with pharmaceutical firm Teva and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. These companies, along with pharmacy company Walgreens, had been accused of recklessly prescribing and distributing medications that contained oxycodone and fentanyl.
Originally, the lawsuit was expected to lead to an important trial in holding drugmakers responsible for allegedly contributing to the nation’s opioid epidemic. However, on October 21, the companies reached a $260 million settlement with the two counties.
The drug distributors have agreed to pay $215 million to the two counties. According to the distributors, they expect their portion of the settlement to fund addiction treatment, rehabilitation programs, and behavioral health services. Teva will pay $20 million in cash and supply $25 million worth of Suboxone, distributed over three years.
Statement From Drugmaker Teva Discloses Global Settlement Framework
In an October 21 statement, Israel-based pharmaceutical company Teva announced not only its settlement with the Ohio counties, but “an agreement in principle” with attorneys general from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas to reach “a global settlement framework.”
Under the agreement, which is not an admission of liability, Teva would donate up to 10 years’ worth of buprenorphine naloxone (sublingual tablets) with a total value of approximately $23 billion. This donation of medication used to treat opioid addiction would be used to help individuals and communities that have been significantly impacted by opioid addiction. The agreement would also include a cash payment from Teva of up to $250 million over 10 years.
Ohio Settlement Leaves Questions Unanswered
Within Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties, communities and families are celebrating the opioid settlement. Many hope that the resulting funding and Suboxone supply can provide vital treatment for individuals impacted by opioid addiction.
Some experts say, however, that reaching a settlement instead of going to trial has left some issues in the opioid crisis unresolved. Some specific concerns include:
Had there been a trial, the jury’s decision could have had a significant impact on future opioid lawsuits, potentially validating future trials.
Without the validation of an Ohio trial, some communities may reach settlements with drug companies, but other communities could miss out on the addiction treatment support they need.
A full trial, rather than a settlement, would have revealed additional information about the business practices of opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Reaching a nationwide or global settlement with drugmakers that are allegedly responsible for the opioid crisis remains uncertain.
Are you ready for increased demand?
With more individuals seeking help for opioid addiction, behavioral health and addiction treatment providers could easily be overwhelmed by the increased demand. BestNotes EHR solutions can help you manage more patients, track outcomes, and bill appropriately, so you can help more people and get paid faster. Contact us to find out more or schedule a free demo.