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Accused of complicity in opioid crisis, Teva launches nasal spray to treat overdoses

Company says its generic version of Narcan is the first to arrive in markets; firm faces multiple legal challenges for allegedly stoking opioid epidemic

Illustrative: A man checks a nasal spray bottle (Malikov Aleksandr; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative: A man checks a nasal spray bottle (Malikov Aleksandr; iStock by Getty Images)

Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva has announced the launch of the first available generic version of a nasal spray used to treat opioid overdose.

Naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray, currently sold under the brand name Narcan, is used in emergencies to block the effects of opioid drugs.

The US has in recent years faced a crisis over opioid drug addiction, which has caused more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the country over the past 20 years.

Teva has itself been accused, along with other major pharmaceutical companies, of stoking the opioid epidemic by engaging in misleading marketing of opioid drugs and downplaying the risks of addiction. Drugmakers and distributors are facing thousands of legal claims by state and local authorities over the crisis.

In September Teva reached an agreement with the attorney general of Louisiana to pay $15 million to settle the state’s opioid-related claims and to provide an additional donation of medicines that aid in opioid addiction and recovery, valued at $3 million.

 

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