The American pharmaceutical giant agrees to pay up to $ 230 million to resolve claims that helped cause a deadly opioid epidemic.
U.S. pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay up to $ 230 million to resolve claims the company helped cause an opioid crisis, New York State’s attorney general said Saturday.
Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that “the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communities in New York State and the rest of the nation, leaving millions still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids. .
“Johnson & Johnson helped fuel this fire, but today they pledge to leave the opiate business, not just in New York, but across the country. J&J will stop manufacturing or selling opioids in the United States, ”said James.
“We are also delivering up to $ 230 million to fund opiate prevention, treatment and education efforts across New York State.”
The deal involves a lawsuit filed by James in 2019 and removes Johnson & Johnson from a trial that is scheduled to begin next week on Long Island.
It is part of a lot of litigation by an epidemic related to nearly 500,000 deaths over the past twenty years.
“Effectively, by paying the settlement money, [Johnson & Johnson] has withdrawn from an unprecedented trial in terms of its scope, “Mike Hanna reported from Al Jazeera from Washington, DC. Hanna added that the next trial will be by jury, something that” had never happened before. in such cases “.
In their own statement Saturday, Johnson & Johnson downplayed the attorney general’s announcement. He said the deal involved two prescription painkillers, developed by a subsidiary and accounting for less than 1% of the market, that are no longer sold in the United States.
Johnson & Johnson said the deal “was not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the company.” He added that his actions “related to the marketing and promotion of important prescription pain medications were appropriate and responsible.”
The company also said the settlements were consistent with its prior agreement to pay $ 5 billion to resolve opioid claims by states, cities, counties and tribal governments nationwide.
The healthcare company and major U.S. drug distributors (AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp.) have proposed paying $ 26 billion combined to end thousands of opioid lawsuits.
Tuesday’s opioid trial is one of several scheduled for this year, with others underway in California and the United States. West Virginia.
West Virginia has the highest lethal opioid overdose rate in the country. Overdoses have increased since the early 2000s, when producers of prescription drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone increased sales through pharmacies and doctors with few controls.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2019.