Allergan reaches tentative $2.37 billion settlement on opioid marketing lawsuits

Drugmaker AbbVie on Friday said it has agreed in principle to pay more than $2 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the marketing of opioids by Allergan, a former opioid manufacturer that has since been bought by AbbVie.

The complete terms of the settlement have not yet been finalized, and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general said precise state allocations have yet to be announced. 

The company did not respond to a request for comment, but disclosed the settlement in its quarterly earnings report on Friday. 

If finalized, the Allergan settlement, together with the Teva Pharmaceuticals settlement announced earlier this week, would provide as much as $6.6 billion nationwide. 

Allergan formerly made Norco-, Kadian-branded and generic opioids. Teva bought Allergan’s generic drugs unit in 2016 and its settlement was contingent on Allergan reaching a nationwide deal.

The $2.37 billion settlement would end the lawsuits of more than 3,000 state and local governments. Some states like New York have reached separate settlements with the company, and the figure would include those settlements as well.

“We’ve worked hard to get the best result for Americans harmed by the opioid crisis, and it’s rewarding to take another step in the right direction,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D) said in a statement. “We continue to make it a priority to hold manufacturers responsible, while ensuring victims of this epidemic receive the help they need.”

Miller’s office led the negotiations with Teva and Allergan.  

The lawsuits allege Allergan deceptively marketed opioids by downplaying the risk of addiction, overstating their benefits, and encouraging doctors to treat patients showing signs of addiction by prescribing them more opioids. 

The lawsuits also allege the company failed to maintain effective controls to prevent the diversion of opioids.

“As I said earlier this week, there’s no amount of money that can make up for the death and destruction that these companies caused by putting their profits before people’s lives,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) said in a statement. 

“Even so, I have and will continue to aggressively hold these companies accountable for the harm they’ve caused in order to protect the people of Minnesota. I’m encouraged by the potential of the Teva and Allergan settlement frameworks to provide critical resources to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.”