Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd has fueled opioid addiction in New York State, a jury found Thursday, a setback for a company that still faces thousands of other opioid-related lawsuits in the United States.

The verdict, which followed a nearly six-month-long court hearing in New York State in a case brought by the state and two of its counties, does not include damages, which will be determined later.

The jury deliberated for more than eight days before reaching a verdict.

Teva’s share price fell several percentage points in New York within half an hour of the decision. In early afternoon trading, the stock fell 30 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $ 8.13.

Teva did not immediately return a request for comment.

The provinces of New York and Nassau and Suffolk have accused the Israeli-based drugmaker of engaging in deceptive marketing practices that incited opioid addiction in the state, including by pushing off-label drugs.

They focused on Actiq and Fentora, cancer painkillers made by Cephalon Inc, a company that bought Teva in 2011, as well as generic opioids sold by Teva.

The judge in the case is still considering a request made by Teva for a trial after a state attorney cited inaccurate statistics on opioid prescriptions in his closing argument. If the ruling stands, it could put pressure on Teva to reach a nationwide settlement with other states and local governments over opioid claims.

The testimony at the trial included a parody video made for a 2006 Cephalon sales meeting in which the villain, Dr. Evil of the “Austin Powers” films, talks about the promotion of the drug for non-cancer pain, and more a video, based on a courtroom scene in the movie “A Few Good Men”, in which an employee of Cephalon tells a lawyer played by Tom Cruise that he “can not handle the truth” about what sales representatives must do to collect quotas.

One of 3,000 packages

Teva argued during the trial that it complied with federal and state regulations and denied that he was involved in misleading marketing. This attributed an increase in opioid prescriptions to a change in medical standards of care emphasizing pain treatment that began in the 1990s.

U.S. officials say the health crisis by 2019 led to nearly 500,000 opioid overdose deaths over two decades. More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses during the 12-month period ending April 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a November report, a record largely driven by opioid deaths such as fentanyl.

The New York lawsuit is one of more than 3,300 lawsuits filed by state, local and Native American tribal governments across the country, which accuse drug dealers of reducing opioid pain medication addiction, and distributors and pharmacies ignore their red flags. that they are diverted to illegal channels. .

Other defendants in the case settled before or during the trial – major pharmacies, distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Health Inc, and drug manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, Endo International Plc and AbbVie Inc. AbbVie’s $ 200 million settlement came at the end of the trial, on the day of closing arguments.

The settlement with J&J and the distributors was part of a nationwide transaction worth up to $ 26 billion. Teva did not participate in this transaction.

Teva had previously triumphed in a similar case when a California judge ruled on Nov. 2 that it and other drugmakers were not liable in a lawsuit filed by several provinces in the state.

OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy in 2019, hoping to resolve a flood of lawsuits over the painkiller through a deal in which the company’s former owners, the Sackler family, will pay $ 4.5 billion in exchange for immunity from future lawsuits. However, a federal judge struck down the agreement on Dec. 17, a decision that the company was expected to appeal.

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