Johnson & Johnson settle opioid lawsuits in Ohio for $20m

pharmafile | October 2, 2019 | News story | Research and Development  

Johnson & Johnson have agreed to settle opioid litigation with two Ohio counties for roughly $20.4 million in a deal that includes combined $10 million payment to the two counties, plus $5 million for legal expenses and another $5.4 million in contributions to opioid-related nonprofits.

The agreement with the Cuyahoga and Summit counties “resolves all of the counties’ claims with no admission of liability and removes the company from the federal trial scheduled to begin October 21st”, Johnson & Johnson stated.

The drug maker claims it has “responsibly marketed” the opioid pain medications Duragesic (fentanyl), Nucynta (tapentadol) and Nucynta ER, which have accounted for less than 1% of total opioid prescriptions in the US” since the products were launched.

The company also stated that it sold its US marketing rights to Nucynta in 2015 and has not marketed Duragesic in the country since 2008.

Earlier this year in August, Johnson & Johnson lost the first opioid case to go to trial in Oklahoma where a judge ordered the company to pay $572 million for contributing to the state’s opioid crisis; the attorney general in that particular case had been seeking $17 billion. The company recently filed an appeal to overturn the ruling.

If J&J’s settlement is approved, Teva will be the only drug manufacturer to remain in the multidistrict litigation, which is scheduled to take place in Cleveland, Ohio before presiding Judge Dan Polster.

Other defendants still in the case are distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal health, Henry Schein and McKesson, as well as the pharmacy chain Walgreens.

Earlier this week, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals finalised a settlement deal with the Cuyahoga and Summit counties under which they will pay $24 million in cash and provide $6 million in generic products, including addiction treatment products.

Allergan and Endo have also reached settlement agreements with the counties of $5 million and $10 million respectively.

Meanwhile, Purdue Pharma last month announced it would file for bankruptcy as part of a tentative deal to settle opioid lawsuits with multiple US states.

Nik Kiran

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