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Johnson & Johnson Reaches Settlement For Nearly $100 Million For Role In Opioid Crisis

(Photo by DIRK WAEM/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the pharma arm of consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson, reached a settlement with the state of West Virginia of nearly $100 million for its role in the opioid crisis, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Monday.

The company will pay out $99 million, more than double the initial proposed amount of $48 million by Janssen, to settle a lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court. Morrisey said he believes the settlement is the largest in the country, per capita, for a pharma company’s role in perpetuating the opioid epidemic.

“This settlement will provide significant help to those affected the most by the opioid crisis in West Virginia,” Morrisey said Monday. “We are still arguing our case in court involving Teva and Allergan and my office is steadfast in holding everyone in the pharmaceutical supply chain accountable for their actions in causing this scourge in West Virginia.”

Other drug companies, including Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, are still involved in the suit. The drug-makers are accused of overselling the benefits of prescription opioids in West Virginia while downplaying or obscuring the risk of addiction.

Johnson & Johnson maintains that the settlement is not an “admission of liability or wrongdoing.”

“The Company’s actions relating to the marketing and promotion of important prescription opioid medications were appropriate and responsible,” the company said.

The $99 million will become available to West Virginia’s cities and counties within 45 days and will be used to combat the opioid crisis, Morrisey said.

Johnson & Johnson previously was part of a $26 billion settlement with several other drug companies and thousands of plaintiffs across the country for contributing to the opioid crisis. It was also sued by the state of New York. (RELATED: Overdose Deaths Soared In 2021, Especially In Teens)

Morrisey said the case against Teva and Allergan will continue. He is also suing the Biden administration for failing to contain fentanyl trafficking at the southern border.