West Virginia announces $99 million settlement with opioid drug maker

KANAWAH COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Monday that his office has reached a $99 million settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a family of drugmakers opioids implicated in the ongoing lawsuit in Kanawha County. Circuit court.

That amount would be more than double Janssen’s national settlement proposal of $48 million.

This settlement will provide meaningful relief to those most affected by the opioid crisis in West Virginia. We are still arguing our case in court involving Teva and Allergan, and my office is committed to holding everyone in the pharmaceutical supply chain accountable for their actions that cause this scourge in West Virginia.

I’ve always said that ultimately, through the work of our Opioid Office, West Virginia will have the highest per capita settlement outcomes in the nation fighting for our people. It was absolutely the right decision to go to trial and double the amount of help we can provide to our citizens.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia

Under the settlement, West Virginia — and all of its cities and counties — will receive a lump sum payment of $99 million, within 45 days of approval by the state’s political subdivisions.

Morrisey said settlement funds would be distributed under the terms of West Virginia’s first memorandum of understanding. Announced in mid-February, the memorandum of understanding is an agreement with cities and counties on how future settlement dollars would be used to alleviate the statewide opioid crisis. It contains a comprehensive roadmap for reducing harm from the flood of opioids in West Virginia. Counties and cities across the state are in the process of approving West Virginia’s first memorandum of understanding.

Lawsuits, filed separately in 2019 in Boone County Circuit Court, allege covert misconduct by defendants, mischaracterize and fail to disclose serious addiction risk, overstated benefits of chronic opioid therapy and encouraged higher doses without disclosing inherently greater risks. One lawsuit is against the Janssen family of opioid makers, the second lawsuit is against the family of companies Teva and Allergan.

The Attorney General alleged that Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and co-defendant, Johnson & Johnson, subverted the standard of care by choosing to persuade the doctors involved that the opioids they did not want to prescribe were more effective and safe enough for wide and long-term use, even for the treatment of relatively minor painful conditions.

Both lawsuits allege that the manufacturers’ conduct and campaign of misrepresentation has led to opioids becoming a mainstream treatment for chronic pain in West Virginia, a reality that has fueled addiction and soaring death rates from opioids. overdose in the state.

The attorney general alleges that the manufacturers’ conduct violated the state’s Credit and Consumer Protection Act and caused a public nuisance. The remaining lawsuit involving the Teva family of companies and Allergan seeks injunctive relief and equitable relief.