New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has filed charges against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., and its subsidiaries; and Allergan PLC and its subsidiaries for their part in the opioid epidemic in that state.
According to the DFS claim, Teva, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Cephalon, Inc., Watson Laboratories, Inc., Actavis Pharma, Inc., Actavis, LLC and Actavis Elizabeth, LLC, and Allergan PLC and Allergan Finance LLC all engaged in fraudulent marketing and promotional campaign which misrepresented the safety and efficacy of opioids and perpetuated the opioid epidemic and led to dramatic increases in insurance costs for the residents and businesses in the state of New York.
The charges are the third set to be filed as part of DFS’ ongoing investigation into what caused the opioid crisis in that state.
“New York will continue to aggressively investigate the bad actors that caused the opioid crisis – an American tragedy that has taken too many lives and caused irrevocable harm to communities in our state and across the country,” Governor Cuomo said. “Everyone who has been affected by opioids deserves justice, and we will make every effort to deliver it to them by pursuing the companies that defraud the public and holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to DFS, Teva was a prolific manufacturer of opioids in the U.S. Making both its own branded opioids, as well as generic opioids, DFS estimated Teva manufactured 20 percent of the opioids the flowed into New York from 2006 to 2014. Allergan also manufactured opioids from 2006 to 2014.
In its court filing, DFS alleged that Teva and Allergan knowingly furthered false narratives that opioids were appropriate for a broad spectrum of pain and that the companies’ messaging downplayed the drugs’ addictive nature and risks. This fraudulent marketing, DFS alleged, caused an increased acceptance of opioids as medically legitimate and appropriate treatment for pain by both healthcare professionals and their patients, which in turn led to the epidemic of addiction and abuse.
DFS charges that Teva and Allergan violated two New York Insurance laws prohibiting fraudulent insurance acts and intentional misrepresentation of material fact. According to the charges, each prescription is a separate violation of these laws carrying with them penalties of up to $5,000 per violation per prescription.
A hearing on the charges is scheduled for Oct. 26, 2020.