Drugmaker Amneal agrees to $270 million U.S. opioid settlement

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – Amneal Pharmaceuticals said on Friday it had reached a deal valued at more than $270 million to resolve claims it helped fuel the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic, becoming the latest drug company to settle lawsuits over the addiction crisis brought by states and local governments.

Amneal reached an agreement in principle to pay $92.5 million in cash and provide $180 million worth of naloxone nasal spray, an overdose treatment medication, to resolve lawsuits by U.S. states, local governments and Native American tribes.

The settlement, which is payable over 10 years, would if finalized resolve nearly all of the more than 900 opioid-related lawsuits against Amneal, the company said. It did not admit wrongdoing as part of the nationwide settlement.

“We remain committed to helping those impacted by the opioid crisis by enhancing access to naloxone nasal spray, which is an emergency treatment for opioid overdose and helps save lives,” Amneal said in a statement.

The settlement added to the more than $51 billion that drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacy operators and consultants have agreed to pay to resolve lawsuits and investigations over their roles in the drug addiction and overdose crisis.

Nearly 645,000 people died in the United States from overdoses involving opioids, both prescription and illicit, from 1999 to 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State attorneys general accused Bridgewater, New Jersey-based Amneal of failing to monitor and report suspicious orders by its customers of generic opioid medications. The company sold nearly nine billion pills from 2006 to 2019, the states said.

“Amneal became one of the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world by profiting off the sale of dangerous opioids,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

She said the settlement would provide funding and resources for states to address the opioid epidemic and help those suffering from drug addiction.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Bill Berkrot)