Drugmaker Teva Pharmaceuticals announced Feb.7 that it reached another multimillion dollar settlement over its opioid manufacturing and sales practices, after national scrutiny shone a spotlight on the opioid epidemic.
Teva, based in Parsippany, settled with the Texas Attorney General’s Office for $225 million over its role in the opioid crisis, both parties announced separately on Monday.
A number of similar agreements have been reached between Teva and other state attorneys general offices. In New Jersey, the company’s alleged role played into a 2019 decision by state officials to halt a $39 million tax break for its relocation to Parsippany, pending continued state scrutiny.
Gov. Phil Murphy and his administration widely publicized the planned move when it was first announced in 2018, as he was traveling across Israel and Germany for the first of several international trade missions representing New Jersey. They since took a frostier stance as details emerged of Teva’s alleged opioid practices.
State officials from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority – which oversees that specific tax break program – were not immediately available for comment.
According to public records, the incentive agreement was “not executed.”
“It is inconceivable to me that New Jersey and Governor Murphy would give $40 million to a company to relocate to New Jersey where it has been documented that they are colluding and conspiring to sell opioids and other drugs that have killed tens of thousands, including perhaps thousands alone in New Jersey,” reads a June 2019 statement from then-Assemblywoman Patricia Egan Jones.
Prior to that decision, the company paid $85 million to Oklahoma for its alleged role in the opioid epidemic, and $27 million for allegedly giving kickbacks to doctors that prescribed its opioid medications, prompting criticism of the tax break agreement by New Jersey lawmakers.
Under this latest agreement, Teva will pay $150 million to the Lone Star State over 15 years, and provide state health officials with $75 million of Narcan, a lifesaving medication for opioid overdoses, according to the company.
The drugmaker will admit no fault, according to the 281-page agreement.
“Pharmaceutical companies must be held accountable for their role in this devastating epidemic,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in the Monday statement.
Teva President and Chief Executive Officer Kåre Schultz maintained that despite admitting no wrongdoing, “it remains in the best interest of Teva to put these cases behind us and continue to focus on the patients we serve every day.”
Last February, the New Jersey attorney general’s office announced it was getting $16 million as part of a nationwide opioid settlement reached with consulting giant McKinsey & Co. The firm developed aggressive sales and distribution strategies used by Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other opioid manufacturers, the New Jersey AG’s office said.
The Murphy administration reportedly paid tens of millions of dollars to the consulting firm.