Florida has reached more than $878 million in settlements with CVS Health Corp. and three drug companies to resolve claims and avert a trial next month over their roles in fueling an opioid epidemic in the third most populous U.S. state, Reuters reports. CVS will pay $484 million, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd will pay $194.8 million, Abbvie Inc's Allergan unit will pay $134.2 million and Endo International Plc will pay $65 million, Florida's attorney general Ashley Moody said Wednesday. Most of the money will be spent on opioid abatement. Teva will also provide $84 million of its generic Narcan nasal spray, which can temporarily reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. The companies denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.
Moody said the pharmacy chain Walgreens is the only remaining defendant in the state's opioid litigation, with jury selection scheduled to begin on April 5. Walgreens said its 2012 opioid-related settlement with Florida covered the state's latest claims, and that it will defend against "unjustified attacks" on its pharmacists. CVS and Teva said they would defend against other lawsuits relating to opioids. Teva also said it "continues to actively negotiate a national settlement" of similar claims. Florida announced the settlements nine days after Rhode Island reached similar accords with Teva and Allergan that it valued at $107 million. More than 500,000 people have died from opioid overdoses in the past two decades, including 75,673 in the year ending April 2021, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.