Teva shares surge amid hopes of $23 billion opioid claims settlement

Teva stocks also closed up 8.67% on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday amid growing optimism.

Pharmacist Jim Pearce fills a Suboxone prescription at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program in Boston (photo credit: REUTERS)
Pharmacist Jim Pearce fills a Suboxone prescription at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program in Boston
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Shares in leading Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries jumped by over 11% on Tuesday on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, boosted by hopes of a global settlement for thousands of opioid addiction-related claims in the United States.
Alongside avoiding a bellwether trial brought by two Ohio counties with a last-minute settlement on Monday, Teva announced it had reached an agreement with a group of attorneys-general from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, as well as certain defendants, for a global settlement framework worth $23 billion.
Teva stocks also closed up 8.67% on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday amid growing optimism.
The global settlement refers to more than 2,600 opioid-related claims faced by Teva and several US drug distributors. The claims have been submitted by state, local and tribal governments, hospitals and other entities to courts across the US.
According to the proposed settlement, Teva would donate Suboxone – a prescription medicine used to treat opioid addiction – up to the amount required to meet the majority of the currently estimated US patient need over the next 10 years, valued at approximately $23b. The company would also provide $250m. in cash over the same period.
Teva “is pleased to positively contribute to solving the nationwide opioid epidemic,” the company said. “Teva has consistently committed to complying with all laws and regulations regarding its manufacture and sale of opioids. Neither settlement includes an admission of liability.”
Since 1999, approximately 400,000 Americans have died from an opioid overdose, including prescription and illicit opioids. According to government health figures, around 68% of more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid. The number of overdose deaths involving both prescription and illicit opioids was six times higher than in 1999.
The proceedings brought by Ohio counties Cuyahoga and Summit to a federal trial in Cleveland were expected to pave the way for the many remaining claims, and may now open the door to a wider agreement. Just hours before the trial was expected to commence, Teva and three drug distributors reached a settlement valued at $260m.
As part of the settlement, debt-laden Teva said it will pay $20m. in cash and donate $25m. of Suboxone over the course of three years. Drug distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen also reached a settlement with the counties, worth a total of $215m.
“While the companies strongly dispute the allegations made by the two counties, they believe settling the bellwether trial is an important stepping stone to achieving a global resolution and delivering meaningful relief,” the drug distributors said in a joint statement.
“The companies expect settlement funds to be used in support of initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic, including treatment, rehabilitation, mental health and other important efforts.”
A new trial date for the remaining defendant, Illinois-headquartered drug store owner Walgreens Boots Alliance, is expected be arranged in due course.
The settlements announced on Monday follow agreements worth $66.4m. reached by the Ohio counties with four other drug companies, including Johnson & Johnson. The judge overseeing the case, Dan Polster, urged the parties to continue toward a broader deal covering all the lawsuits. “I did not encourage a settlement of this case only,” Polster said in court on Monday.
In May, Teva reached an agreement with the State of Oklahoma to resolve the state’s claims against the company. The one-time payment of $85m. to the state “does not establish any wrongdoing on the part of the company,” and that it had not contributed to opioid abuse in Oklahoma in any way, said Teva.
Despite the current stock market bounce, shares in Teva have slumped by approximately 50% over the past 12 months on both the Tel Aviv and New York stock exchanges as the company tackles heavy debts and deals with the overhanging threat of opioid claims.
As of June 30, Teva’s debt stood at $28.726b. The company will report its financial results for the third quarter on November 7.
Reuters contributed to this report.