Texas to receive $276M in new opioid deal

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton plans to enter into a $5 billion multistage settlement with CVS Pharmacy for its role in the nationwide opioid epidemic, his office announced Wednesday.

The agreement is expected to direct $276 million to the Lone Star State, he said.

“Millions of Americans have died or are sick due to the opioid epidemic. While significant work remains, a broad coalition of states reached certain terms with CVS, and we are hopeful that we will be able to reach a final agreement on all terms,” Paxton said in a statement.

Texas worked with Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, Paxton’s office said.

The agreement will largely track the terms of the Global Prescription Opioid Litigation Settlement Agreement with opioid distributors that was executed in July 2021, officials said.

According to CVS Pharmacy, the company will make the payments over the next 10 years beginning in 2023. 

The agreement would fully resolve claims dating back a decade or more and is not an admission of any liability or wrongdoing, CVS officials said.

“We are pleased to resolve these longstanding claims and putting them behind us is in the best interest of all parties, as well as our customers, colleagues and shareholders,” said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel of CVS Health, in a statement. “We are committed to working with states, municipalities and tribes, and will continue our own important initiatives to help reduce the illegitimate use of prescription opioids.”

The CVS deal is the latest of several opioid-related legal settlements Texas has secured in recent months.

In August, Texas was also part of a multi-state deal with Teva, where the Israel-based drug manufacturer agreed to pay $4.25 billion. Opioid manufacturer Allergan also agreed in August to pay up to $2.37 billion to participating states and local governments.

Last year, Texas was also part of the $63 million agreement reached with Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the $290 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson and the $26 billion multi-state opioid settlement with drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen.

“Pharmaceutical companies that have been at the root of the problem must be involved in not only changing their business practices to keep this tragic epidemic from taking more lives in the future, but also by providing treatment for those currently still struggling with opioid addiction,” Paxton said.

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