Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $20.4 million to settle claims by two Ohio counties ahead of the first bellwether trial scheduled for later this month in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) holding drug makers accountable for creating and fueling a national opioid epidemic.
The deal includes paying a combined $10 million to Cuyahoga and Summit counties, reimbursing them $5 million for legal expenses, and donating an additional $5.4 million to nonprofit organizations to provide resources to combat the opioid crisis in the two counties.
Johnson & Johnson is the fourth drug company named in the lawsuit to reach a settlement. Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced Aug. 20 that it would pay $10 million and donate up to $1 million in prescription drugs to the state to settle with the counties. Allergan announced Aug. 30 that it would pay $1.9 million to Summit County and $3.1 million to Cuyahoga County to exit the lawsuit. Mallinckrodt said it would pay $24 million and donate up to $6 million in generic medications to resolve its role in the case.
Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and its billionaire owners, the Sackler family, reached a tentative agreement worth about $10 billion to $12 billion to settle about 2,000 opioid lawsuits brought by local municipalities, Native Indian tribes, and states. Under the terms of the agreement, Purdue will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and be restricted as a public beneficiary trust with future profits from OxyContin sales benefiting plaintiffs. Purdue also agreed to donate opioid addiction treatments – many of which are currently under development in the U.S.
Teva Pharmaceuticals, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp., Walgreens and Henry Schein are the remaining defendants in the case brought by the Ohio counties, which is scheduled to begin trial Oct. 21.
Beasley Allen has an Opioid Litigation Team that includes these lawyers: Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, Roger Smith and Jeff Price. This team represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities in multidistrict litigation.