The Cleveland County District Court in Oklahoma has approved the $85 million amended settlement reached by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) with the Oklahoma state attorney of claims that Teva fueled an epidemic of addiction to opioid-based painkillers in the state. Teva was accused together with Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma.
Teva reached agreement with the State of Oklahoma last month, without admission of wrongdoing, just two days after being put on trial together with Johnson & Johnson. Purdue Pharma evaded similar accusations by declaring bankruptcy. Johnson & Johnson thus remains the sole accused in the case.
The agreement ran into difficulty when Judge Thad Balkman in Norman, Oklahoma demanded to know how the money Teva was due to pay would be distributed. Yesterday it was reported that this issue had been resolved and that the way had been cleared for approval of the agreement. Teva has thus closed the first chapter of the story, but it is not clear when it will end.
Teva is exposed to claims in this affair both as producer of the painkillers Fentora and Actiq and generic versions of similar drugs, and also as a distributor through Anda Inc., the fourth largest generic drug distributor in the US, which Teva acquired from Allergan.
This is the first settlement by Teva in this affair, in which some 2,000 claims have been filed, and the question now is how much the company will have to provide in total against these claims. Assessments on the market are divided on this. UBS estimated last month that the affair would ultimately cost Teva $4 billion.
Teva is also embroiled in the affair of alleged price fixing of generic drugs in the US, and here too the extent of the damage is hard to assess.
Teva's share price is currently down 1.39% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 25, 2019
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