PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Attorney General Peter Neronha announced Monday that Rhode Island has settled the last of the state’s major lawsuits over the opioid epidemic for $107 million worth of cash and free medications.
Neronha’s office said the settlement with drugmakers Teva and Allergan calls for the state to receive $28.5 million in cash. In addition, Teva will provide 1 million Naloxone nasal sprays and about 2 million Suboxone pills at no cost, valued at $78.5 million combined.
The state and Teva had been scheduled to go trial this month.
Monday’s announcement follows multiple previous settlements Rhode Island reached with other opioid defendants. That included a high-profile deal reached earlier this month with Purdue Pharma and its controlling family, the Sacklers, after Neronha and a group of other attorneys general rejected an initial settlement proposal as too limited.
Rhode Island is now set to receive nearly $190 million in cash from the series of settlements, all of which must be put toward programs that help deal with opioid addiction and recovery. (That figure excludes the value of the free drugs being provided by Teva.) The money will be spread out over the coming years, and an advisory committee will recommend how it should be used.
“While no amount of money will ever be enough to undo the harm suffered by Rhode Islanders throughout the ongoing opioid epidemic, these additional recoveries will further support public health efforts to respond to the challenges brought on by this epidemic, which have grown much worse during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Neronha said in a statement.
Distribution of the settlement proceeds to treatment providers and other beneficiaries will be handled at both the state and municipal levels, with cities and towns receiving a portion of the money.
Neronha’s office said the 1 million free Naloxone nasal sprays — which can be administered to reverse the effects of an overdose — being provided by Teva are projected to be enough supply to meet the state’s needs for the next decade.
That means “we can use these hard-gained monetary recoveries for other purposes,” rather than for the purchase of Naloxone, Neronha said.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook