Johnson & Johnson has agreed in principle to contribute to the all-in settlement deal that would resolve opioid lawsuits against the company. The additional commitment brings Johnson and Johnson up to $5 billion in total contributions. The settlement is part of the $48 billion frameworks that four states North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Pennsylvania announced one year ago in which Johnson & Johnson and four other companies Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Teva agreed to provide $22 billion in cash. In addition, $26 billion worth of generic opioid addiction treatment, product distribution, and data tracking measures.
“The settlement is an indication that numerous other lawsuits filed across the U.S. could be moving toward resolution,” said Partner Matthew McCarley of Fears Nachawati Law Firm.
“All of these lawsuits are based on the same documents and similar allegations against these drug makers,” said McCarley, who represents states, counties, and municipalities in opioid litigation. “If Johnson & Johnson feels it has a high level of exposure, the company is not going to be fighting this case in other courts.”
The terms of the settlement still must be finalized.
Fears Nachawati represents about 100 political subdivisions of states and the State of Utah in the litigation.
Under the original agreement, each state and local government would have received a share of the $22 billion in cash to provide addiction treatment, paramedic services, and telehealth treatment.
Johnson & Johnson’s settlement increase is just the latest development of the ongoing battle with opioid pharmaceutical companies.
Last week according to a Reuters report, Purdue Pharma is reportedly close to reaching an agreement to plead guilty to charges related to worsening the epidemic; the company could face penalties exceeding $8 billion between civil and criminal charges.