The opioid crisis has been devastating to many families and communities throughout America. After years of making major profits from the sale of opioids, many drug companies have come under fire from regulators, lawmakers, consumers and even investors. It might even seem as though a settlement would only make matters worse for some of the drugmakers, but it turns out that not all settlements are created equal.
Endo International PLC (NASDAQ: ENDP) announced on Tuesday that its Endo and Par Pharma subsidiaries have reached a settlement in principle with the Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio, as well as certain related persons in connection with the lawsuits pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. The press release indicated that this settlement will be effective only upon the execution of definitive documentation, and that this settlement will resolve the Track 1 cases if finalized.
According to Endo, the Track 1 cases assert various claims arising from or otherwise relating to the manufacturing, marketing, distribution, supply, sale, prescribing, use or abuse of branded and generic opioid medications.
Endo has agreed to pay a total of $10 million, and the company will provide up to $1 million of its Vasostrict and Adrenalin products free of charge as part of the agreement. Endo also noted:
Further, in the event of a comprehensive resolution of government-related opioid claims, the Company has agreed that the two plaintiff counties will receive the value they would have received under such resolution less the total value of the settlement in principle announced today. The settlement will include no admission of wrongdoing, fault or liability of any kind by the Endo Entities and is based on the avoidance of litigation risk and associated costs.
The Track 1 cases currently are scheduled to go to trial in October 2019, and Endo’s release indicated that this is a favorable outcome for the company. The cash portion of the settlement is said to approximate the estimated cost to Endo of proceeding through trial, and the product portion of the settlement is said to illustrate the importance of its critical care products.
Endo further noted that the value of this specific settlement “should not be extrapolated to any other opioid-related cases or claims.” In short, this is not a model to be used to determine what the company is willing to or will have to pay out elsewhere in other opioid-related cases.
Shares of Endo Pharmaceuticals were trading up over 21% at $3.09 on Tuesday, and the 14 million shares that had traded by 1:00 p.m. were already approaching three times normal trading volume. Endo’s 52-week trading range is $2.14 to $18.50, and its market cap is about $702 million.