Johnson & Johnson, and its Janssen Pharmaceutical subsidiary, reached a deal worth more than $20 million with two Ohio counties - Cuyahoga and Summit - late Tuesday night.
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The conglomerate is the fifth drug company to reach a settlement with the two counties in order to avoid the first federal trial over the nation's opioids crisis,
J&J is not admitting liability in the settlement, which calls for the company to pay $10 million to the counties, and includes provisions for the company to reimburse the counties up to $5 million for legal expenses. The company will also contribute another $5.4 million to nonprofit organizations that deal with opioids.
“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. The company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need,” Johnson and Johnson said in a statement.
“This settlement represents yet another milestone in this litigation as it gets much-needed funding into the community while at the same time providing support for programs addressing opioid-exposed babies and their families"
In late August, Allergan announced a $5 million settlement with the Ohio counties, and Endo, another opioid drug maker, previously settled for $10 million.
More than 2,500 counties and cities across the country have filed suits against drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies over the opioid epidemic. Other parties include Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.
“This settlement represents yet another milestone in this litigation as it gets much-needed funding into the community while at the same time providing support for programs addressing opioid-exposed babies and their families,” said Frank L. Gallucci, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
On August 26, an Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson guilty in fueling the state's opioid crises and ordered the corporation to pay $572 million because a judge ruled that the company should be held responsible for increasing that state's opioid epidemic by aggressively marketing painkillers.