Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three opioid distributors agreed to pay a combined amount
The historic agreement – years in preparation – calls for
The settlement marks a major milestone in the highly addictive drug litigation, which has been attributed to more than 500,000 deaths in two decades. States, cities and counties have filed nearly 4,000 lawsuits against more than a dozen drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies seeking compensation for billions spent fighting the opioid epidemic in the USA.
“While no amount of money is ever enough, this regulation will force these drug companies to pay a historic sum of money to provide much needed treatment and recovery services to communities in North Carolina and to change their business practices. so something like that doesn’t happen again, ”North Carolina Attorney General said
More than 40 states are expected to participate in the deal, Stein said at a press conference with other attorneys general. Early adopters already include California, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia.
States that were not part of the negotiating group have 30 days to sign the agreement, and several have already announced that they will do so. They will then have 120 days to convince their local governments to accept money to drop their lawsuits, with bonuses paid by companies to get more for signing up. This process has already started in many states. New York Attorney General
The companies have said they are confident the deal will solve a significant portion of their opioid responsibilities.
“These regulations will directly support state and local efforts to make meaningful progress in addressing the opioid crisis in the United States,”
AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health
While shares of all four companies edged up, investors had long suspected an upcoming deal. The companies had disclosed the terms of their offer of $ 26 billion in securities deposits.
The settlement was announced on a day when New Brunswick and New Jersey-based J&J increased its profit and revenue guidance for the year, supported by the strong recovery in its pharmaceuticals, medical devices and of its consumer suits, and increased sales of its Covid-19 vaccine. Shares rose 0.4%.
“Today’s news is another positive development in opioid regulation for distributors,” Evercor ISI analysts, including Elizabeth Anderson, said in a research note to customers. “We see this settlement as likely to encompass almost all jurisdictions, with the final membership timeline also helping to provide resolution and remove equity overhang.”
A “critical mass” of states must support the deal or it will collapse, Joe Rice, one of the attorneys representing the states, cities and counties, said at a press conference. He didn’t say how many states or local governments are needed to keep him alive.
Every day that goes without money for treatment only prolongs the pain of the opioid epidemic that has only worsened during the pandemic, Louisiana attorney general said
Washington State Attorney General
“The courts that have been tried against these companies have done much better than this deal,” Ferguson said in a statement, adding that a judge had set a January trial date for his trial against J&J.
In the only other verdict against an opioid maker, an Oklahoma judge in 2019 ordered J&J to pay $ 465 million for causing a public nuisance in the state with its illegal marketing of its painkillers. opioids. The Oklahoma Supreme Court assesses the company’s appeal.
U.S. District Judge
Local governments have decided to prosecute opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacists, such as
While other opioid defendants have already settled, the deal involving J&J and the distributors is the first global resolution of all claims against a company by states, cities and counties.
The deal also relieves litigation pressure on distributors, who were dropped as defendants in the opioid lawsuit from New York to Long Island. J&J already paid
It is not known whether the settlement will also affect the status of the companies in an ongoing lawsuit in West Virginia federal court. Closing arguments are scheduled for next week. J&J is also currently facing a lawsuit in California state court for surrendering his old opioid pain relievers.
The consolidated case is In Re National Prescription Opioid Litigation, 17-md-2804, US District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland). The New York case is In Re Opioid Litigation, Index no. 40,000/2017, New York Supreme Court, Suffolk County.
(Updates with details of the terms of the agreement from the fifth paragraph)
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