Johnson & Johnson Agreed to a $20.4 million Deal to Avoid a Coming Trial


Johnson & Johnson agrees to pay $20.4 million to avoid a trial accusing it of helping spark an opioid crisis in Ohio.

On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson announced it has agreed to a $20.4 million settlement to avoid a trial accusing the company of helping spark an opioid-addiction crisis in two Ohio counties. The settlement makes J&J the fourth drugmaker to reach such a deal ahead of the trial.

Earlier this week, drugmaker Mallinckrodt PLC completed a $30 million deal with Cuyahoga and Summit counties. Endo International PLC had previously agreed to pay the counties $10 million, while Allergan PLC had agreed to pay $5 million to avoid the trial.

J&J’s settlement includes a $10 million cash payment, a $5 million reimbursement of legal expenses the counties incurred in relation to the trial, and $5.4 million in charitable contributions to opioid-related nonprofits in the counties. Yet the deal, which includes no admission of liability, still leaves J&J facing hundreds of other opioid lawsuits.

The company said Tuesday the settlement allows it “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 two Ohio counties behind the lawsuit, Cuyahoga and Summit, are home to cities including Cleveland and Akron that have been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Lawyers for the two counties said the settlement provides urgently needed funds for programs like those to treat babies born to opioid-addicted mothers. The lawyers said they are continuing to prepare for trial “to hold the remaining opioid makers and distributors accountable for fueling the crisis that has led to thousands of deaths in Ohio and across the country.”

J&J said Tuesday the company is “open to identifying an appropriate, comprehensive resolution of the overall opioid litigation” but is also prepared to defend its marketing and other actions.

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Economics, Finance and Investing