Proposed Settlement Would Provide Funds to Address Opioid Crisis, Require Significant Document Disclosure, and Ban the Promotion of Endo’s Opioids
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that a coalition of state attorneys general has reached an agreement in principle with opioid maker Endo International plc and its lenders that would provide up to $450 million to participating states and local governments, ban promotion of Endo’s opioids, and require Endo to turn over millions of documents related to its role in the opioid crisis for publication in a public online archive.
The agreement in principle with Endo, which initiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings last week in the Southern District of New York, resolves allegations that Endo boosted opioid sales using deceptive marketing that downplayed the risk of addiction and overstated the benefits. Endo, an Ireland-based drugmaker with its U.S. headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, makes generic and branded opioids including Percocet and Endocet, and also made Opana ER, which was withdrawn from the market in 2017.
States have alleged that Endo falsely promoted the benefits of Opana ER’s so-called abuse-deterrent formulation, which did nothing to deter oral abuse and led to deadly outbreaks of Hepatitis and HIV due to its widespread abuse via injection.
“The Attorney General’s Office is committed to holding accountable those who have fueled the opioid epidemic, which has destroyed the lives of millions of American families, including in New Jersey,” said Acting AG Platkin. “This settlement cannot bring back those we have lost to the opioid crisis, but we can put these settlement funds back into the communities that have suffered most to provide needed resources that will help with prevention, treatment, and recovery.”
“Although there is no way to quantify the daily suffering and long-term harm caused by Endo, the Endo settlement funds will provide financial resources necessary to combat the far-reaching effects of illegal opioid marketing,” said Kelly Levy, Acting Director of the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES). “We are committed to using these funds to continue our all-hands on deck approach to lessening the impact the opioid crisis has on the lives of New Jersey residents on a daily basis.”
“New Jersey will not relent in its efforts to seek justice for the victims of the opioid crisis,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “This settlement holds Endo accountable for its deceptive conduct and will result in millions of dollars going to combat the long-lasting and destructive ripple effects from the unlawful marketing of opioids.”
Among other things, the resolution, which is contingent on final documentation and Bankruptcy Court approval:
- Requires payment of $450 million in cash over 10 years to participating states and subdivisions.
- Requires Endo to turn over its opioid-related documents for publication online in a public document archive and pay $2.75 million for archival expenses.
- Bans the marketing of Endo’s opioids forever.
In February, the Attorney General’s Office announced that New Jersey is set to receive $641 million from settlements with Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured opioids, and the country’s three largest pharmaceutical distributors – McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen. The $641 million in settlement funds will be paid through 2038, and will fund programs focused on treatment, prevention, and other strategies to combat the opioid epidemic in the State. In March, Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Platkin announced that nearly all of the $641 million would be divided evenly with 50 percent going to the State and 50 percent going to its counties and municipalities.
In June, Acting AG Platkin announced that New Jersey and its eligible subdivisions are to receive approximately $30 million dollars, assuming no prepayment by the company, as part of a multistate opioid settlement with global pharmaceutical maker Mallinckrodt PLC. The settlement addressed the company’s role in helping foment the national opioid crisis.
Consulting firm McKinsey & Company agreed in 2021 to pay a total of $573 million to resolve a multistate investigation into its own role in fueling the opioid crisis, with New Jersey receiving $16 million from that settlement. Also, in January 2021, the Attorney General’s Office announced an anticipated $5 million settlement with Insys Therapeutics, Inc.’s founder John N. Kapoor to resolve allegations that Kapoor unlawfully orchestrated the payment of bribes to New Jersey doctors as part of a nationwide kickback scheme to boost sales of the company’s flagship opioid drug Subsys.
Deputy Attorneys General Lara Fogel, Patricia Schiripo and Jesse Sierant, of the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, and Assistant Attorney General Janine Matton handled the Endo matter on behalf of the State.