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Teva Pharmaceutical to settle Okla. opioid lawsuit for $85M

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is paying $85 million to settle an opioid lawsuit with Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sued units of Teva, along with other major drugmakers Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson & Johnson and Allergan PLC in 2017 for allegedly misrepresenting the risks of prescription opioid painkillers that helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic, seeking more than $20 billion in damages.

The Israel-based maker of generic drugs denied its involvement in the opioid crisis and noted that the settlement "does not establish any wrongdoing" by the company. In addition, Teva announced its commitment to defend the company against various claims, including an upcoming federal court trial in Cleveland where majority of its cases are pending.

Teva Pharmaceutical is the second defendant to reach a settlement agreement with Oklahoma. In March, OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $270 million to settle the lawsuit.

Hunter said majority of the money from the settlements will be used by the Oklahoma State University Center for Wellness and Recovery for addiction treatment and research.

The state's opioid trial against the remaining defendants, which include New Brunswick, N.J.-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, will begin May 28.