J&J Reaches $20-Million Settlement in Opioid Litigation

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies have reached a settlement agreement on pending opioid litigation with the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit that resolves all of the counties’ claims and removes the company from a federal trial that is scheduled to begin October 21, 2019. Under the agreement, J&J will make a combined $10-million settlement payment to the counties.

Under the settlement, J&J has further agreed, with no admission of liability, to reimburse $5 million of the counties’ legal and other expenses incurred in preparation for the trial. Further, the company says it will direct $5.4 million of its charitable contributions to non-profit organizations in connection with opioid-related programs in these two counties.

“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,” said the company in an October 1, 2019 statement. “The Company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need.”

In its statement, the company said that it responsibly marketed its products, Duragesic (fentanyl), Nucynta (tapentadol hydrochloride), and Nucynta ER (tapentadol hydrochloride), and noted that they account for less than 1% of total opioid prescriptions in the United States. It further noted that the company sold the US marketing rights for Nucynta in 2015 and has not marketed Duragesic in the US since 2008.

Earlier this year (August 2019), J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies announced they would appeal a $572-million civil judgement entered in Cleveland County District Court in the State of Oklahoma’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. The company said it would remain open to viable options to resolve these cases, including through settlement.

Source: Johnson & Johnson

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