CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says his office has reached a major deal with an opioid drug manufacturer.
On Monday, Morrisey’s office announced the settlement was reached with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The amount is more than double Janssen’s national settlement proposal of $48 million, according to the attorney general’s office.
“This settlement will provide significant help to those affected the most by the opioid crisis in West Virginia,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We are still arguing our case in court involving Teva and Allergan and my office is steadfast in holding everyone in the pharmaceutical supply chain accountable for their actions in causing this scourge in West Virginia.
As part of the settlement, the state of West Virginia along with all of its cities and counties will receive a lump sum payment of the $99 million. Morrisey’s office says the payment will be received within 45 days of approval by the state’s political subdivisions.
According to the attorney general’s office, the money from the settlement will be distributed under the West Virginia First Memorandum of Understanding’s terms. The MOU agreement between the state, cities and counties, first announced in mid-February, defines how any future settlement dollars will be used to fight the opioid crisis in the state.
The lawsuits, which were filed separately in the Boone County Circuit Court in 2019, alleged Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. concealed misconduct and failed to disclose the serious risk of addiction while also overstating the benefits of chronic opioid therapy.
The suits also allege the company and it’s co-defendant Johnson & Johnson “turned the standard of care on its head by choosing to persuade concerned doctors that the opioids they had been unwilling to prescribe were more effective and safe enough for wide and long-term use, even for treatment of relatively minor pain conditions.”