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Johnson & Johnson to contribute a further $1 billion to US opioid settlement

Published on 14/10/20 at 12:36pm

Johnson & Johnson will pay another $1 billion to settle lawsuits alleging it fuelled the opioid crisis in the US.

J&J already agreed a $4 billion settlement with a group of state attorney generals, which called for distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisouceBergen and Cardinal health to pay a combined $18 billion.

J&J said in a statement that the additional funds reflected the continued negotiations it had been carrying out with local governments.

Paul Hanly, a lead attorney for local governments pursuing federal lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors, said: “We are hopeful other companies defending the numerous litigations will see the wisdom of this step forward.”

The company has denied any wrongdoing.

This follows New York State suing J&J in a lawsuit seeking $2 billion in damages for the company’s role in the opioid crisis. The lawsuit targets the opioid medication Duragesic, which is a patch that contains fentanyl first approved by the FDA in 1990. It claimed to relieve pain over the course of 72 hours without the need to keep taking maintenance doses. The label did warn about the high concentration of fentanyl and said Schedule 2 opioids have the highest potential for abuse and fatal overdoses.

There are over 3,000 lawsuits being filed collectively by states, municipalities and counties that are seeking to hold drug companies responsible for the opioid epidemic.

Matt Fellows

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