Florida, other states agree to drug settlement

DREAMSTIME

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida is part of a national settlement with generic drug manufacturer Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which has tentatively agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits stemming from the opioid epidemic.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called the tentative agreement, announced Tuesday, “a step in the right direction towards providing relief for victims and protecting Floridians from this deadly epidemic.”

Under the proposed settlement, Ireland-based Mallinckrodt has also agreed “that its future business will be subject to injunctive relief that precludes marketing of opioids and prevents diversion,” Moody said in a prepared statement.

“The opioid crisis is claiming 15 lives each day here in Florida. These opioid pill manufacturers deceived the public in their marketing of these highly addictive, sometimes lethal, drugs, and I am working hard every day to hold them accountable,” she added.

Separate lawsuit

Mark Trudeau, Mallinckrodt’s president and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday that the “agreement in principle” and associated debt refinancing activities “are important steps toward resolving the uncertainties in our business related to the opioid litigation.”

Florida also filed a separate lawsuit in 2018 seeking to recoup millions of dollars spent because of opioid addiction and deaths. That lawsuit was filed against manufacturers, distributors and sellers of opioids and included a series of allegations, including misrepresentation about opioid use and filling suspicious orders for drugs.

The state later added CVS Pharmacy Inc. and Walgreen Co. to the lengthy list of defendants in the case. CVS and Walgreens Co. in January filed what is called a third-party complaint against 500 “John and Jane Doe” doctors, alleging that the prescribing physicians – and not the drug stores – are to blame for faulty prescriptions.

Moody castigated the tactic as a “publicity stunt,” and asked a judge to reject the drug-store chains’ effort.

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