SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, July 12, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office announced a $54 million settlement agreement with two opioid defendants that will go towards addressing the opioid crisis in San Francisco. Under the agreement in principle, opioid manufacturers Allergan and Teva, will pay San Francisco $34 million in cash payments and provide the City $20 million worth of the overdose reversal drug, Narcan.
This settlement stems from ongoing litigation San Francisco brought on behalf of the People of the State of California against the opioid industry. Following this agreement, Allergan and Teva will be severed from the trial, and closing arguments against the remaining defendant, Walgreens, will begin today at 9:30 a.m. PST.
Over the course of this litigation, the City Attorney’s Office has thus far secured over $120 million in cash payments and other benefits from the opioid industry to go towards opioid abatement and overdose prevention in San Francisco.
“Opioids have wreaked havoc across our nation, and cities like San Francisco have shouldered the burden of the epidemic,” said City Attorney Chiu. “Under this agreement, our City will receive significant resources to combat the opioid crisis and bring relief to our communities. We look forward to presenting closing arguments in our trial against the remaining defendant, Walgreens, to make sure they are also held accountable for the crisis they fueled.”
The settlement arises out of City and County of San Francisco, et al., v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., Case No. 3:18-cv-07591-CRB. In 2018, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office filed this landmark case on behalf of the People of the State of California alleging that the corporate practices of opioid manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers fueled a widespread surge of opioid-related addiction and overdose in San Francisco, creating an ongoing public nuisance in the region.
From 2006 to 2014, San Francisco County saw 163,645,704 opioids distributed, enough for 22 pills per person per year. Between 2015 and 2020, San Francisco saw a 478 percent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, and in a typical day at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Emergency Department, approximately 25 percent of visits are opioid-related.
The lawsuit alleges that the remaining defendant, Walgreens, over-dispensed opioids without proper due diligence and failed to identify, divert, and report suspicious orders as required by law. The People are seeking funds to abate the public nuisance as well as injunctive relief and civil penalties to repair the damage caused from the opioid epidemic and prevent such practices in the future. The bench trial is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with Judge Charles R. Breyer presiding.
As a result of the City’s litigation, the City Attorney’s Office secured a $10 million settlement agreement with the pharmaceutical company Endo at the start of the trial, and the City previously approved a $60 million settlement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and distributors McKesson, Cardinal, and AmerisourceBergen. Additionally, San Francisco is likely to receive funding from the bankruptcy estate of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.
This trial is the fourth bellwether case in the federal opioid litigation proceeding involving more than 3,000 American cities, towns, and counties, bringing opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacy chains to court for fueling the opioid epidemic. The case will serve as a test trial to help reach resolutions and seek accountability for the destruction these companies caused.
The general public and members of the media can find information about the trial and access the livestream of closing arguments here.