By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — (The Center Square) – Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has agreed to pay Texas $63 million in a statewide opioid settlement, another in a string of settlements won this year by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
This summer, Mr. Paxton reached the largest opioid settlement in U.S history after years of negotiating with three of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical distributors.
Texas’ $26 billion Global Prescription Opioid Litigation Settlement Agreement was the first of its kind in the nation and will fund a range of programs to assist Texans struggling with opioid addiction. Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine and illicit drugs like heroin.
Endo’s agreement follows the terms of the Global settlement although it wasn’t a party to the initial agreement. As part of the terms of its settlement agreement, Endo will pay $63 million to Texas’ Qualified Settlement Fund regardless of when the global settlement agreement is finalized, and without any rebates or reductions to the payment amount.
“This settlement is the result of my office aggressively working to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their deceptive marketing of highly-addictive pain pills, which spurred an epidemic and left victims and families with unimaginable consequences,” Mr. Paxton said. “This settlement is a necessary step in the right direction, and we will continue to fight to heal our state from this devastating crisis.”
Texas’ $26 billion Global settlement was reached with the pharmaceutical distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, and with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed the opioids.
All told, Texas is slated to receive $1.2 billion from Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. The funds will largely go toward opioid abatement efforts statewide, involving the participation of cities, counties, and other political subdivisions.
In October, Mr. Paxton’s office reached a $297 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its U.S.-based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies as part of the Global settlement agreement.
In February, Mr. Paxton’s office reached a $38.4 million settlement with McKinsey for its role in providing consulting services to opioid companies. It was accused of selling marketing plans, programs, and advice to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma for more than 15 years.
The agreements came after Texas sued Purdue Pharma in 2018 for allegedly violating state laws prohibiting deceptive trade practices. Purdue Pharma was accused of misrepresenting the risk of addiction to its painkillers, including OxyContin, to patients and doctors.
Mr. Paxton has described the settlements as “monumental,” saying they will “bring much-needed funding for Texans who have fallen victim to the irresponsible and deceptive marketing practices from opioid manufacturers that spurred” the opioid epidemic.
Texas saw a 33% increase in accidental drug overdose deaths this past year. According to a recent report published by the CDC, 4,751 Texans died from overdoses from May 2020 to May 2021, compared to 3,551 who died from drug overdoses over the same time period the previous year.