Pharmaceutical companies pay millions to Florida after damage caused by opioids

Out-of-court settlements with pharmaceutical companies sued by the state of Florida, United States, for the opioid crisis total more than 3 billion dollarsFlorida Attorney General Ashley Moody reported Thursday.

Moody spoke like this when there are a few days left before the trial arising from the lawsuit beginsin which, as confirmed today, there will only be one defendant: the Walgreens pharmacy chain.

“It’s time for Walgreens to shoulder its responsibility in fueling the opioid crisis, and my team is prepared to vigorously prove our strong case against you“, the attorney general said in a statement.

One of the documents filed with the court alleges that a Walgreens drug distribution center sold 2.2 million opioid tablets to a single Walgreens pharmacy in the Florida town of Hudson, Florida. which means “approximately six months’ supply for each of its 12,000 residents,” the statement said.

“In some cases, Walgreens increased orders by as much as 600 percent in the space of just two years, including, for example, supplying a town of 3,000 with 285,800 orders for oxycodone in one month,” it adds.

Next Tuesday will begin in New Port Richey, Florida, the selection of the jury for the trial that Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd will lead and it is estimated that the public hearing phase will begin around April 11.

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In exchange for a withdrawal of the lawsuit against them, the other companies pledged funds “to help Florida address the devastation caused by the opioid epidemic,” Moody said.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the period from October 2020 to September 2021, overdoses claimed the lives of 7,574 people (7,422 a year earlier) in Florida.

That figure is only surpassed in California, where there were 10,098 deaths from this cause in the same period (8,480).

Moody’s announced Wednesday that Florida reached an agreement for 878 million with four American pharmaceutical companies to close the lawsuit for the opioid crisis.

The CVS company will pay 484 million dollars to the state of Florida; Teva, almost 195 million; Allergan, more than 134 million, and Endo Health Solutions, 65 million, for resolve claims related to its responsibility in the “opioid epidemic”.

Teva will also provide units of its generic Narcan nasal spray to the state.which reverses the effect of opiate overdoses, worth 84 million.

The more than $3 billion in settlements Moody spoke of include Florida’s share of national or multi-state lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

According to the CDC, From May 2020 to April 2021, 100,306 people died from overdoses in the United States. and in 64 percent of the cases, synthetic opiates were involved, especially fentanyl, which originates in China and arrives in the United States from Mexico.