LYNNFIELD — The Select Board has approved a settlement of an opioid lawsuit filed against five major pharmaceutical companies.
Lynnfield is one of the plaintiffs in litigation brought by states, many other local political subdivisions, and special districts against defendant pharmacies Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS and pharmaceutical manufacturers Teva and Allergan.
The settlement would total more than $20 billion with up to $17 billion available to states, cities, and towns for what Town Counsel Thomas Muller said Monday will help “remediate the impacts of the opioid crisis.”
Mullen said notice has been sent to the town and other participating communities and that the town will need to “docu-sign” a so-called “participation agreement.” He suggested the town treasurer should be the person to sign the agreement.
The deadline to sign is April 18.
“Unfortunately, I cannot give you a lot of details about amounts involved but the greater the participation of cities and towns means that the more money will be available for distribution and I don’t know what that amount would work out to for Lynnfield,” Mullen said.
A settlement overview notice sent to plaintiffs states that the settlement will “also contain injunctive relief governing opioid marketing, sale, distribution, and/or dispersing practices.”
The overview states that subdivisions that elect not to participate in the settlement “cannot directly share in any of the settlement funds, even if a subdivision’s state is settled and other participating subdivisions are sharing in settlement funds (and that) if a state does not participate in a particular settlement, the subdivisions in that state are not eligible to participate in that settlement.”
Mullen said he has reached out to Scott+Scott, the law firm representing Lynnfield in the matter, who recommends all towns that they represent participate in the proposed settlement. Mullen said he also represents the Town of Wakefield in the case and that on Scott+Scott’s recommendation and his recommendation, the town voted to accept the settlement, executing and returning the agreement.
“I recommend that you, too, authorize the treasurer to execute and deliver the agreement,” Mullen said.
Select Board Chair Phil Crawford asked if there is any reason why the town would not accept the settlement.
“No, at this point there really isn’t,” Mullen answered. “Our lawyers, Scott+Scott, are among the most aggressive plaintiffs’ lawyers I’ve met. If they say it’s time to settle with these people, I trust them, they’re making the right call.”
The settlement requires Teva to pay up to $3.34 billion over 13 years and to provide either $1.2 billion of its generic version of the drug Narcan over 10 years or an agreed-upon cash equivalent over 13 years.
Allegan will pay up to $2.02 billion over seven years, while CVS will pay up to $4.9 billion over 10 years.
Walgreens will pay up to $5.52 billion over 15 years and Walmart will pay up to $2.74 billion in 2023 with all payments being made within six years.
The Select Board voted unanimously to settle the case at a meeting on Monday.