Written by Stephen Sher
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc expects to complete a settlement of opioids in the United States by the end of the year and begin payments in 2023, the CEO of Teva Pharmaceuticals said on Sunday.
After years of negotiations, Israel-based Teva in July proposed a nationwide settlement of $4.35 billion — mostly in cash and part pharmaceuticals ranging from $300 million to $400 million over 13 years — to resolve opioid lawsuits.
US states, cities and counties have filed more than 3,000 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies, accusing them of underestimating their addiction risk and failing to prevent the diversion of drugs for illegal use.
CEO Carrie Schultz said the company is working on a legal draft that should expire by the end of September. Then it needs the consent of states and subdivisions within states.
“When they choose to join, once that’s all done … it takes effect and that means the first payments will happen next year and last for 13 years,” Schultz told a news conference. “So by the end of the year, you should have this clarification that it all comes together and we’ll start paying next year.”
Teva has denied any wrongdoing, saying it sold legal drugs that were approved for pain treatment.
The opioid crisis in the United States has caused more than 500,000 overdose deaths over the past two decades, including more than 80,000 people in 2021 alone, according to government data.
Schultz said Teva intends to continue to reduce costs by closing some of its sites. Since 2017, it has reduced the number of manufacturing plants to 53 from 80 and plans to close 10 more in the next few years.
At the same time, Schultz said that Teva will continue to repay its high level of debt, which has fallen to $ 20 billion from $ 34 billion, and indicated that the company is likely to be unaffected by higher interest rates.