The $50 billion civil suit was filed by four California counties against Teva and a number of other drug manufacturers over the opioid addiction crisis. The suit sought to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the people who made the addictive pain killers.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson issued a tentative ruling finding Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd not liable for the opioid addictions. Other pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson, Endo International PLC and AbbVie Inc’s Allergan unit were also let off the hook.
“There is simply no evidence to show that the rise in prescriptions was not the result of the medically appropriate provision of pain medications to patients in need,” Wilson wrote in his decision.
This is not the end for Teva, however. The company is still looking at other lawsuits all over America.
In September, Massachusetts District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton overruled Teva’s motion to have a federal case against it dismissed, rejecting the company’s claim that since it did not control how the donations were dispersed then it was not in violation of U.S. Federal laws. The suit, U.S. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc et al, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 20-11548, was filed in August 2020. According to the indictment, Teva is accused of engaging in the coordinating of prices, tenders, and of dividing customers between its partners in the conspiracy. Teva is also accused of artificially inflating the prices its medications.
Teva said in a statement that it will pursue a national settlement framework.
The news comes as people continue to watch “Dopesick,” a television adaptation of what happened behind the scenes as the now bankrupt Purdue Pharma promoted its OxyContin pain killer.
“Dopesick” is based on the book “Dopesick (Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America)” by author and journalist Beth Macy. The book purports to tell the story of America’s opioid epidemic “from the boardroom to the courtroom and into the living rooms of Americans,” including the involvement of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. But as will all such books, it is up to the reader to decide if the information that it offers is credible or not.
Last November Purdue Pharma pled guilty for its part in America’s opioid crisis. The company was branded as a “pusher” for its OxyContin pain killer. Purdue Pharma had been charged with paying doctors kickbacks to get them to prescribe more of its pain killers. This was done in spite of knowledge about how addictive they were. Purdue’s chairman Steve Miller admitted that the company knowingly supplied OxyContin to doctors who were suspected of illegally prescribing the drug while telling the DEA that it was working to do just the opposite.