Johnson & Johnson reaches settlement with OH over opioid crisis


Johnson & Johnson will provide $10 million to Cuyahoga and Summit counties as well as $5 million to reimburse legal and other expenses.

"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.

The opioid manufacturer company said the settlements with Cuyahoga and Summit counties include no admission of liability and removes the Johnson & Johnson from the federal trial scheduled to begin this month in the Northern District of OH, according to a news release.

Other pharmaceutical companies previously settled related opioid litigation with Cuyahoga and Summit counties.

More than 2,500 counties and cities across the country filed suits against drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies over the opioid epidemic.

Millions of Americans sank into addiction after using potent opioid painkillers that companies churned out and doctors freely prescribed over the past two decades.

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In August, the state of Oklahoma won its case against Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson said after the decision that it will appeal the ruling. Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the powerful opioid OxyContin, which has been widely blamed for fueling the crisis, is working on a settlement worth as much as $12 billion. In addition to the plaintiffs in the OH case, attorneys general from around the country have also sued the company and its owners, the Sackler family.

It also settled with two other opioid drugmakers, including a $270m deal with Purdue Pharma and an $85m deal with Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Four other drug makers have already settled ahead of the October 21 trial, but McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Henry Schein Inc. are still listed as defendants, according to Reuters.

In August 2019, Allergan announced its settlement with the 2 OH counties. The state had the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths involving opioids in the 2017, according to the most recent data from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse.