Pharmaceutical company settles for $10 million ahead of San Francisco opioid trial

The city of San Francisco has agreed to a $10 million settlement with Endo Pharmaceuticals over the company’s role in the opioid epidemic, five days before a federal civil case involving multiple drug companies goes to trial, reports said. officials announced Wednesday.

The settlement will separate Endo from Monday’s scheduled trial, which includes defendants like pharmaceutical giant Walgreens, as well as drug companies Allergan, Anda and Teva.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu alleges the defendants over-prescribed painkillers – driving patients addicted and fueling the illicit opiate markets that plague neighborhoods like the Tenderloin.

“The defendants in this case each contributed to and created this public nuisance by flooding San Francisco with opioids,” Chiu said at a press conference Wednesday. “Defendants did this by making false statements, misleading doctors and patients about the risks of opioids, and changing the general public’s view of opioid use.”

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The case is just one of many where cities have sued drug companies for their role in the growing opioid crisis. The San Francisco case, however, is different, according to Chiu, because it involves defendants at all levels of the supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies.

He said the crisis has prompted users to seek out illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl – pushing the number of overdose deaths in the city to almost 700 a year for the past three years.

In fact, between 2015 and 2020, opioid overdose deaths increased by 478%. And in 2020, opioid overdoses more than doubled Covid-19 deaths.

Between 2006 and 2014, drug companies dispensed more than 163 million pharmaceutical pain relievers in San Francisco, which equates to 22 pills per person per year, Chiu said.

“There’s a line you can draw between the conduct of legal businesses — manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies — and the illegal markets you see today,” said Keith Humphreys, a Stanford professor who has studied the drug crisis. opioids. “They dodged not really loopholes but gaping holes in US regulations.”

Walgreens and other companies involved in the lawsuit would not comment.

The city attorney’s office filed the lawsuit in 2018 — and included companies like oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma.

Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and paid billions in settlements for its role in the opioid epidemic.

Chiu said the settlement with Endo has not been finalized but will include an upfront payment of $5 million.

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky

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