Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $230M In Opioid Settlement

New York Attorney General Letitia James points as she speaks during a press conference announcing legislation to reform police use of force laws in Manhattan on May 21, 2021 in New York City. James announced the Police Accountability Act, which is aimed changing a New York law justifying the use of force by police officers from a simple necessity to an absolute last resort, and mandates that all officers use force only after exhausting all alternatives. The legislation will also enforce new criminal penalties for police officers who use excessive use force. Photo: Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Saturday (June 26) that Johnson & Johnson will pay $230 million for its alleged role in fueling the opioid crisis. Under the settlement terms, the company will also be barred from manufacturing or selling opioids or promoting the drugs in the state. 

“Johnson & Johnson helped fuel this fire,” James said in a statement. “While no amount of money will ever compensate for the thousands who lost their lives or became addicted to opioids across our state … these funds will be used to prevent any future devastation.” 

According to CNN Business, the settlement funds will be used for opioid education, prevention and treatment programs. The company may also be responsible for an additional $30 million if New York passes a law that establishes an opioid settlement fund. 

The settlement with Johnson & Johnson as James’ lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors, first filed back in 2019, heads to trial next week. Johnson & Johnson will no longer be a part of the lawsuit, following its settlement. “The settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement, adding that it “remains committed to providing certainty for involved parties and critical assistance for communities in need.” 

More than 800,000 people have lost their lives to overdoses involving opioids over the last two decades according to data from the CDC. Over the last year, overdose deaths involving opioids among Black Americans surged, raising concerns among public health officials about the disparate impact of opioids on historically oppressed groups.

The opioid industry is currently facing more than 3,000 lawsuits across the country.

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