Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $230 million in a settlement to resolve claims that it “helped fuel” the opioid crisis in New York state. The settlement also bars the company from manufacturing or selling opioids nationwide, something Johnson & Johnson says they’ve already done.
The deal requires Johnson & Johnson to allocate payments over nine years, but according to the New York State Attorney General Letitia James, the company will make substantial payments upfront. The settlement also removes the pharmaceutical giant from a wide-ranging trial that is set to begin in New York.
“The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communities across New York state and the rest of the nation, leaving millions still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids,” James said. “Johnson & Johnson helped fuel this fire, but today they’re committing to leaving the opioid business — not only in New York but across the entire country.”
Johnson & Johnson released a statement saying the deal was “not an admission of liability or wrongdoing” but “consistent with the terms of the previously announced $5 billion all-in settlement agreement in principle for the resolution of opioid lawsuits and claims by states, cities, counties and tribal governments.”
According to the New York Times, the settlement comes as the “opioid industry is facing over 3,000 lawsuits across the nation.” Between 1999 and 2019, almost 250,000 people died from an overdose involving prescription opioids, the CDC says. And during those years, the number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids more than quadrupled.