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USA: Johnson & Johnson settles for $20.4 million in Ohio lawsuit for role in opioid crisis

Author: Shubham Kalia, Reuters , Published on: 14 October 2019

"Johnson & Johnson settles Ohio lawsuits to avoid federal trial," 2 Oct 2019

Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday it will pay $20.4 million to settle claims by two Ohio countries, allowing the U.S. healthcare giant to avoid an upcoming federal trial seeking to hold the industry responsible for the nation's opiod epidemic.

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. The case is considered a bellwether for more than 2,600 lawsuits by state and local governments that are pending nationally.

“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,” J&J said in a statement.

“The company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need,” it added. 

Opioids were involved in 400,000 overdose deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

J&J which formerly marketed the painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta, said the settlement includes no admission of liability.

...Mallinckrodt Plc finalized a $24 million settlement with the same two counties on Monday. Endo International Plc and Allergan Plc also settled with the two counties in August to avoid going to trial.

...Earlier in the year, an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572.1 million to the state for its part in fueling an opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing addictive painkillers.

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Related companies: Alliance Boots (part of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) Boots (now Alliance Boots) Johnson & Johnson