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Teva Pharmaceuticals Found Liable in Landmark Opioid Trial


As the trial came to a finish, there were more settlements: Earlier this month, just before closing arguments began, Allergan, a pharmaceutical company whose best-known product is Botox, was excised after it agreed to a $200 million settlement.

The money from the settlements will be spread to communities hit by the epidemic of opioids to use for addiction treatment and prevention programs. If certain conditions are met, the combined amount could reach $1.7 billion.

The string of agreements left only a single manufacturer of branded and generic opioids, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., a handful of its associated companies, and Anda, a distributor to pharmacies that is a subsidiary of Teva, at trial.

During the trial, attorneys for Suffolk and Nassau Counties and New York State showed the jury videos one company created for an internal sales conference. In the videos, executives spoofed film scenes, including “Austin Powers,” where in the voice of the villain Dr. Evil, one discussed pushing doctors to prescribe their opioid over a competitor’s product.

In another, a vice president of sales is spliced into a scene from “A Few Good Men,” explaining that sales representatives have quotas: “You can’t handle the truth,” he says in part. “Quotas have to be exceeded.”

On Dec. 13, lawyers for the parent company, Teva, filed a motion asking for a mistrial, in part saying the lawyers for Suffolk County and New York had falsely suggested to the jury that the content in the video was emblematic of the company’s training.

A lawyer for Teva, Harvey Bartle IV, of the firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, said that the videos were not training videos, but parodies, merely intended to be humorous. In asking for a mistrial, Mr. Bartle argued that the plaintiffs’ characterization of the videos violated a previous order from Justice Garguilo to allow the videos to be shown only as parodies.



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