West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Wednesday announced a $161.5 million settlement with two drug companies over their role in the opioid epidemic, providing funds for a state hard-hit by the crisis.
Morrisey’s office described the settlement with the companies Teva and Allergan as “record-breaking,” saying it was the highest per capita settlement in the country.
The announcement comes as a trial over a lawsuit alleging the companies helped fuel the opioid epidemic was ending.
Morrisey’s office said the companies “helped fuel the opioid epidemic in West Virginia by engaging in strategic campaigns to deceive prescribers and misrepresent the risks and benefits of opioid painkillers.”
“It’s been a long trial and, as we have said from the very beginning, we are looking for accountability,” Morrisey said in a statement. “This settlement, along with other settlements we will receive from other cases, will provide significant help to those affected the most by the opioid crisis in West Virginia.”
The settlement money will be distributed to localities in the state to help fight the opioid epidemic. The terms include $27 million-worth of Narcan, an opioid overdose treatment, from Teva.
The announcement comes as part of a string of settlements and lawsuits across the country targeting drugmakers, as well as other parts of the supply chain like drug distributors and pharmacies, over their role in the opioid overdose crisis.
West Virginia had previously announced a $99 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson.
Drug overdose deaths have been continually setting new records in the United States. There were over 107,000 drug overdose deaths last year, according to the latest data released this month.
“Today’s settlement with the state of West Virginia is another critical step forward in getting life-saving treatments to people suffering from addiction to opioids,” Teva said in a statement. “This settlement agreement is not an admission of any liability or wrongdoing, and the Company continues to actively negotiate a national settlement.”