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Johnson & Johnson settles with 2 Ohio counties over opioids

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday introduced it had reached an settlement price greater than $20 million with two Ohio counties, turning into the most recent firm to settle a lawsuit to get out of the primary federal trial over the nation’s opioids disaster.

The take care of Cuyahoga and Summit counties comes slightly greater than a month after an Oklahoma choose ordered the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based well being care conglomerate to pay $572 million over its advertising and marketing of opioids in that state.

It was introduced lower than three weeks earlier than the scheduled begin of the primary federal trial over the opioid disaster. 4 different opioid makers even have reached settlements in latest months and won’t be defendants within the trial, scheduled for federal courtroom in Cleveland. Like a lot of the others, Johnson & Johnson nonetheless faces some 2,000 different lawsuits associated to the nation’s opioids epidemic.

The Ohio settlement requires the corporate and its Janssen Pharmaceutical subsidiary to pay $10 million with out admitting legal responsibility. The deal additionally contains provisions for the corporate to reimburse the counties as much as $5 million for authorized bills and contribute one other $5.four million to nonprofit organizations that take care of the opioid disaster in northeastern Ohio.

“The settlement permits the corporate to keep away from the useful resource calls for and uncertainty of a trial because it continues to hunt significant progress in addressing the nation’s opioid disaster,” Johnson & Johnson mentioned in an announcement. “The corporate acknowledges the opioid disaster is a fancy public well being problem and is working collaboratively to assist communities and folks in want.”

Opioids, a category of drug that features prescription painkillers in addition to heroin and illicitly made fentanyl, have been linked to greater than 400,000 deaths within the U.S. since 2000.

Johnson & Johnson has offered three opioids within the U.S.: Duragesic fentanyl patches; the oral opioid Nucynta; and an extended-release model of Nucynta.

The corporate mentioned its merchandise accounted for lower than 1% of the opioid prescriptions within the nation since they have been launched. It offered advertising and marketing rights for Nucynta in 2015 and has not marketed Duragesic to sufferers or prescribers within the U.S. for greater than a decade, though it continues to promote the drug.

In latest months, the drug corporations Endo, Allergan and Mallinckrodt additionally reached settlements with the 2 Ohio counties. Purdue Pharma has struck a tentative deal meant to settle all its lawsuits — though about half the states say they’ll object to the settlement in chapter courtroom.

Teva is the one drugmaker that will stay within the Cleveland trial if Johnson & Johnson’s settlement is finalized. The opposite defendants nonetheless within the trial are distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Well being, Henry Schein and McKesson, together with the pharmacy chain Walgreens.

With most drugmakers out of the preliminary trial, it might imply much less give attention to how they marketed highly effective painkillers to medical doctors and extra on whether or not distributors shipped opioid orders that they believed have been suspicious.

With the trial approaching, extra settlements are attainable. In an announcement Tuesday, Endo mentioned it “continues to discover numerous world settlement mechanisms,” together with “a assemble that would probably be carried out by way of Purdue Pharma’s latest chapter submitting.”

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Comply with Mulvihill at http://www.twitter.com/geoffmulvihill




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