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J&J Pays $ 263 million in New York opioid settlements, avoids litigation

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine, California, the United States, January 24, 2017. REUTERS / Mike Blake

From Jonathan stamp

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson said Saturday it would pay $ 263 million to clear up claims it fueled an opioid epidemic in New York state and two of its largest counties.

As a result of the settlements, the drug manufacturer will be excluded from a jury trial beginning Tuesday on Long Island in which several large opioid manufacturers and traders are also indicted.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE 🙂 did not admit liability or misconduct in the settlement with New York State, Nassau and Suffolk counties. The state settlement of $ 229.9 million also urges J&J to stop selling the pain relievers nationwide.

"The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc across the country," New York attorney general Letitia James said in a statement. "Johnson & Johnson helped start this fire."

She said her focus remains on "getting money into opioid-ravaged communities as soon as possible."

J&J said the settlements were in line with its previous agreement to pay $ 5 billion to settle opioid claims from states, cities, counties and tribal governments nationwide.

The healthcare company and largest US drug retailer – AmerisourceBergen (NYSE 🙂 Corp, Cardinal health Inc (NYSE 🙂 and McKesson Corp (NYSE 🙂 – have proposed to jointly pay $ 26 billion to end thousands of opioid lawsuits.

J&J has also appealed a 2019 Oklahoma judge's ruling that the New Brunswick (NYSE :)-based company, based in New Jersey, pays $ 465 million for its fraudulent marketing of opioids.

Tuesday's opioid trial is one of several scheduled for this year, with more ongoing in California and West Virginia.

Drug manufacturers AbbVie Inc (NYSE 🙂 and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE 🙂 Ltd and several distributors are among the defendants. The pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc, which was only sued by the districts, is also indicted.

Walmart (NYSE 🙂 Inc, Rite Aid (NYSE 🙂 Corp, and CVS Health Corp (NYSE 🙂 were excluded from the process during jury selection. CVS has settled with the counties of Nassau and Suffolk. Settlement conditions were not disclosed.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2019.

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