FILE - Opioid Crisis Overdose Antidote

Naloxone, a medication that's used to treat opioid overdoses 

(The Center Square) – Attorney General Ken Paxton has secured another roughly $1 billion in additional opioid settlement money for Texas, bringing the total settlement money from multiple lawsuits to nearly $3 billion.

The latest opioid settlement agreements his office reached are with Allergen, CVS and Walgreens.

Texas joined multi-state settlements with these companies for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic, including a $2.37 billion national settlement with opioid manufacturer Allergan and a $10.7 billion settlement with pharmaceutical giants CVS and Walgreens.

From these settlements, Texas and local governments will receive over $135 million from Allergan over a period of seven years. They’ll also receive over $304 million from CVS over 10 years and $340 million from Walgreens over 15 years.

Allergen formerly produced Norco- and Kadian-branded opioids and sold its generic opioid products to Teva in 2016. Last year, multiple states negotiated joint agreements with Allergan and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Texas settled separately with Teva last February, with Teva agreeing to pay Texas $150 million in cash and provide $75 million worth of Narcan, a lifesaving nasal spray used to reverse opioid overdoses including fentanyl.

“The coalition of states alleged that Allergan deceptively marketed opioids by downplaying the risk of addiction, overstating their benefits, and encouraging doctors to treat patients showing signs of addiction by prescribing them more opioids,” Paxton’s office says. “They also alleged that Allergan failed to maintain effective controls to prevent diversion of opioids.”

The settlement agreements, Paxton said, help provide accountability “for those who have created and worsened this crisis,” will bring justice to “those who have suffered because of Allergan’s reckless actions,” “provide funds to stop the irresponsible distribution of opioids” and help Texans battling addiction.

The settlement agreement with Allergan requires it to share clinical data through a third-party archive and disclose documents through a public repository. It also prohibits Allergan from selling opioids, funding or providing grants to third parties for promoting opioids, or lobby on matters related to opioids.

“Every single day, Americans from all backgrounds are suffering from opioid addiction and its destructive consequences,” Paxton added. “The tragic and infuriating reality is that this epidemic has not happened by accident. There are companies that have played a role in worsening, and in many cases causing, opioid addiction. They must be held responsible, and CVS and Walgreens are no exception.”

In addition to agreeing to pay the states nearly $11 billion in fines, CVS and Walgreens were required to monitor, report, and share data about suspicious activity related to opioid prescriptions, as part of their settlement agreements.

After states joined the settlement, local governments also have the option to join. Depending on how many sign the agreements nationwide, CVS and Walgreens payments could begin in the second half of 2023.

Nearly all settlement money is stipulated to be used toward prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services.

So far, multi-state investigations and litigation against the pharmaceutical industry for its role in the opioid crisis have led to more than $50 billion paid to states.

Among them, Paxton negotiated for Texas nearly $3 billion from agreements with Walgreens, CVS, Allergen, Walmart, Mallinckrodt, Teva, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, and McKinsey.