The state of Oklahoma settled Sunday with a second drug company over its role in the deadly opioid epidemic, reaching an $85 million agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals just two days before a landmark trial is scheduled to begin.
The deal leaves Oklahoma to face off in court Tuesday against Johnson & Johnson, one of the nation’s large pharmaceutical companies, in the first state trial over culpability for the drug crisis. Opioid overdoses have taken thousands of lives in the sparsely populated state and more than 400,000 nationwide between 1999 and 2017.
In March, the state settled out of court with Purdue Pharma, the third defendant in the 2017 lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Mike Hunter (R). Purdue, the manufacturer of prescription painkiller OxyContin, is widely seen as the central character in the crisis, and the company agreed to pay $270 million toward treatment of substance abusers and research on the epidemic.