OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma entered settlement agreements with three major pharmacy chains and an opioid manufacturer totaling more than $226 million, Attorney General John O’Connor announced Wednesday.
Including the new settlements with drugmaker Allergan and pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, Oklahoma has received more than $900 million from opioid makers and distributors to help address the state’s opioid crisis, O’Connor said.
“The opioid crisis has inflicted unspeakable pain on Oklahoma families and caused the deaths of thousands of Oklahomans,” O’Connor said in a statement. “Between 2016 and 2020, more than 3,000 Oklahomans died from opioid overdoses.”
The Justice Department on Thursday filed a civil lawsuit against AmerisourceBergen Corp., one of the largest drug distributors in the country, alleging that it failed to report “at least hundreds of thousands” suspicious opioid orders to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, pharmaceutical distributors must monitor the orders they receive for controlled substances, and are required to flag any they deem suspicious to the DEA. According to the filing, AmerisourceBergen repeatedly failed to do so since 2014, despite being made aware of significant “red flags” at pharmacies across the country.
“In the midst of a catastrophic opioid epidemic AmerisourceBergen allegedly altered its internal systems in a way that reduced the number of orders that would be flagged as suspicious. And even up to the orders that AmerisourceBergen identified as suspicious, the company routinely failed to report those suspicious orders,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said during a call with members of the media on Thursday. “In short, the government’s complaint alleges that for years AmerisourceBergen prioritized profits over its legal obligations and over Americans’ well-being.”
Teva Pharmaceuticals’ big-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone is losing ground in the U.S. thanks to generics, but the medicine was once the company’s primary growth driver. Now, it’s at the center of a lawsuit filed by the state of Israel over alleged unpaid royalties.
Israel has sued Teva for $100 million in royalties on the longer-lasting version of the medicine, Globes reports. While Teva owns Copaxone marketing rights, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science developed the medicine, the publication reports.
When the original daily version, first approved in the U.S. in 1996, neared its patent expiration, the company switched its efforts to a longer-acting version. In its lawsuit, Israel claims government scientists at the Weizmann Institute developed the long-acting version as well, so it’s owed royalties.
“The state has no alternative but to take legal action against Teva to ensure that it receives suitable remuneration for using public resources that brought Teva very large scale revenue,” the suit says, according to Globes.
Defendants, including Walgreens, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals had tried to get the case thrown out.
(CN) — A federal judge on Thursday cleared the way for San Francisco’s opioid lawsuit against Walgreens and a number of pharmaceutical companies to head to trial, which is set to begin on April 25.
Thousands of states, cities and counties have sued pharmaceutical companies over their role in the opioid epidemic, which is believed to have been caused by the marketing and overprescription of prescription drugs like Oxycontin. Many patients who were prescribed an opiate later switched over to using illegal narcotics like heroin. According to the CDC, nearly half a million people died from opiate overdoses between 1999 and 2019.
The biggest culprit was Purdue Pharma, which manufactured and marketed Oxycontin, and which entered bankruptcy in 2020. That proceeding hit the pause button on all lawsuits against Purdue, and eventually lead to a massive settlement, in which cities and states will effectively take over ownership of Purdue. The former owners of the company, the Sackler family, contributed $6 billion to the settlement, a good deal of which went to the governmental entities, in exchange for immunity from future lawsuits.
The drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three pharmaceutical distributors agreed to a $26 billion settlement with states and municipalities in February.
Two small biotech firms filed a long-awaited lawsuit against Moderna, alleging that its Covid-19 vaccine infringes on a number of patents they control.
The companies, Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences, a subsidiary of Roivant Sciences, say that they hold patents covering the lipid nanoparticle wrappers used to carry the messenger RNA in Moderna‘s (ticker: MRNA) Covid-19 vaccine through the bloodstream and into the cells.