Virginia Attorney General announces $4.3 billion settlement with opioid maker

Virginia's Attorney General Jason Miyares has announced the Commonwealth is part of a $4.3 billion nationwide settlement with one of the country's largest opioid manufacturers. 

Miyares announced that Virginia will receive $70 million dollars as part of the massive settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of America's largest manufacturers of generic opioids.

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The lawsuit was first filed in 2019 under Virginia's former Attorney General Mark Herring. It claimed that the Israeli pharmaceutical company promoted Fentanyl originally used in cancer patients for use by non-cancer patients. 

Virginia also said Teva deceptively marketed opioids by downplaying the risk of addiction and overstating their benefits, including the notion that indicators of addiction are actually "pseudoaddiction" treated by prescribing more opioids.

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The settlement comes as opioid-related deaths are on the rise in the commonwealth. 

Lynda Clarke, a peer counselor in Virginia who is also in recovery, says it's good to see the settlement and attention on the issue, but opioid addiction is not new to Virginia.

"It's been a crisis in our community for a long time. People are starting to pay attention now because addiction doesn't have an address, an income status, none of that. It will drop on anybody's door. And what I've seen now is it has just started to fester out in the areas that wouldn't normally be known as a problem," said Clarke. "I've lost people to this addiction. I've gotten to a point now where you wake up and someone is gone. A young man that I raised, four months ago he took something. He'd only been home maybe, I don't think he'd been home six months. He took something and it caused him to OD and he hit a tree on Jefferson Davis Highway and died instantly."

In 2020, on average, four Virginians died every day from an opioid overdose according to the Commonwealth's Department of Health.

Teva's announcement of the settlement states that the agreement will include no admission of wrongdoing on the company's part.