Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $230 million settlement with the state of New York, which prohibits the business from advertising opioids and confirms that such medications are no longer distributed in the United States.
The deal, according to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, bars J&J from advertising opioids in any way and prohibits lobbying on such goods at the federal, state, or municipal levels.
Since 2015, Johnson & Johnson has not promoted opioids in the United States, and the company plans to exit the business entirely in 2020.
The corporation will address opioid-related claims and distribute payments over a nine-year period as part of the settlement. According to a press release from James’ office, it might also pay $30 million extra in the first year if the state executive chamber passes new legislation forming an opioid settlement fund into law.
The agreement comes after years of litigation by states, towns, and counties against major pharmaceutical corporations over the opioid crisis, which has claimed the lives of roughly 500,000 people in the United States over the last two decades.
Governments have claimed that corporations overprescribed the medication, causing people to get hooked and consume additional illegal opioids, while firms have claimed that they supplied the correct amount of product to help people with medical concerns
“The opioid epidemic has devastated countless communities across New York State and the country, leaving millions addicted to harmful and lethal opioids,” James said in a statement.
“Johnson & Johnson contributed to the spread of this epidemic, but now they are pledging to exit the opioid business – not just in New York, but across the country,” she said. “J&J will no longer manufacture or sell opioids in the United States.”
According to the statement, the trial against the remaining defendants in the New York opioid lawsuit will begin this week. Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, and Allergan Finance LLC are among the other defendants in the New York lawsuit.
Johnson & Johnson said in a statement on Saturday that the settlement is “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,” and that it “is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the company.”
The corporation also stated that it would continue to fight any cases that were not resolved by the final deal.
In order to “avoid any future suffering,” James said the state will prioritize financing for opioid prevention, treatment, and education activities.