Teva to pay Nevada $193 million over role in opioid epidemic

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By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on Wednesday agreed to pay Nevada $193 million to settle claims that its marketing practices fueled opioid addiction, the state announced.

Nevada was one of two states, along with New Mexico, that did not join a $4.35 billion nationwide settlement with the Israel-based drugmaker last year. New Mexico has also since settled.

"The money coming into Nevada from these settlements will help our state recover and will help resources flow to the Nevadans impacted by this epidemic," Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement.

A Teva spokesperson confirmed the settlement but did not comment further.

Nevada, along with other states and thousands of local governments, accused Teva and other drugmakers of downplaying the addiction risks of opioid pain drugs.

Teva sells the brand-name fentanyl-based drugs Actiq and Fentora used to treat breakthrough cancer pain, and has sold generic opioid drugs.

The sprawling litigation over opioids has also targeted drug distributors and pharmacy chains, and has resulted in more than $50 billion in total settlements.

Nevada has secured $849 million in opioid settlement money, Ford's office said on Wednesday.

Teva's settlement with Nevada will be paid in installments from 2024 to 2043. Like many other states, Nevada has passed a law laying out how its opioid settlement funds will be split between the state and its local governments, and requiring them to use the money to address the harms of opioid addiction.

More than half a million people died from drug overdoses in the United States in the period from 1999 to 2020, with opioids playing an outsized role. Overdose deaths have risen further since then, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Bill Berkrot)

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