Health Care

Johnson & Johnson reaches $20.4 million settlement in huge opioid case

Johnson & Johnson reaches $20.4 million settlement in huge opioid case”

Mallinckrodt Plc finalised a US$24 million settlement with the same two counties on Monday.

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday announced it had reached an agreement worth more than $20 million with two OH counties, becoming the latest company to settle a lawsuit to get out of the first federal trial over the nation's opioid crisis.

The Johnson & Johnson agreement was with two OH counties ravaged by the opioid crisis - Cuyahoga and Summit.

J&J became the fourth drugmaker to settle claims ahead of the Federal Court trial against multiple manufacturers and distributors in Cleveland scheduled for later this month.

Johnson & Johnson, like the other drug makers, still faces some 2,000 other suits in various states related to the opioid epidemic.

It is the fourth drugmaker to settle claims in OH amid more than 2,600 lawsuits by state and local governments against painkiller manufacturers.

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"The settlement allows the Company to avoid the resource demands and uncertainty of a trial as it continues to seek meaningful progress in addressing the nation's opioid crisis", Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals manufactured two opioids that were distributed in Cuyahoga and Summit counties. The other defendants still in the trial are distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, Henry Schein and McKesson, along with the pharmacy chain Walgreens. Johnson & Johnson also owned two companies that processed and imported the raw material used to manufacture oxycodone, a highly addictive opioid.

Tuesday's announcement comes after a landmark ruling in August which ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572m (£468m) for its part in fuelling Oklahoma's opioid addiction crisis.

Judge Thad Balkman, who presided over the Oklahoma case, said the pharmaceutical giant "caused an opioid crisis that is evidenced by increased rates of addiction, overdose deaths and neonatal abstinence syndrome" in the state. Purdue Pharma has struck a tentative deal meant to settle all its lawsuits - although about half the states say they will object to the settlement in bankruptcy court. Several attorneys general have declined to accept the proposed deal, vowing to pursue their cases against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.

The trial involving Cuyahoga and Summit counties is called a "bellwether" case. Following that trial, another is scheduled for early next year.

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