Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Settle Ohio Opioid Lawsuits

StockMarketNews.TodayJohnson & Johnson on Tuesday said it has agreed to a $20.4 million deal to avoid a coming trial accusing the company of helping spark an opioid-addiction crisis in two Ohio counties.

The settlement makes J&J the fourth drugmaker to reach such a deal ahead of the trial, slated to begin later this month in federal court in Cleveland. The trial is considered a bellwether for thousands of opioid-related lawsuits that municipalities and states have filed against drugmakers.


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The company said Tuesday the settlement allows it “to avoid the resource demands and uncertainty of a trial as it continues to seek meaningful progress in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis.”

Yet the deal, which includes no admission of liability, still leaves J&J facing hundreds of other opioid lawsuits. The two Ohio counties behind the lawsuit, Cuyahoga and Summit, are home to cities including Cleveland and Akron that have been hit hard by the opioid crisis.

As in thousands of other opioid-related lawsuits filed by local and state municipalities, the counties accused J&J and other companies of contributing to widespread addiction through aggressive marketing practices and lax distribution policies.

J&J said Tuesday the company is “open to identifying an appropriate, comprehensive resolution of the overall opioid litigation” but is also prepared to defend its marketing and other actions.

Lawyers for the two counties said the settlement provides urgently needed funds for programs like those to treat babies born to opioid-addicted mothers. The lawyers said they are continuing to prepare for trial “to hold the remaining opioid makers and distributors accountable for fueling the crisis that has led to thousands of deaths in Ohio and across the country.”


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Earlier this week, drugmaker Mallinckrodt PLC completed a $30 million deal with Cuyahoga and Summit counties. Endo International PLC had previously agreed to pay the counties $10 million, while Allergan PLC had agreed to pay $5 million to avoid the trial.

J&J’s settlement includes a $10 million cash payment, a $5 million reimbursement of legal expenses the counties incurred in relation to the trial, and $5.4 million in charitable contributions to opioid-related nonprofits in the counties.

The company is among drugmakers exploring a way to use the bankruptcy of another defendant in the opioid cases, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, to try to reach a global resolution of the cases, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.



Johnson & Johnson Quarterly Profit Jumps 42%



The litigation has weighed on J&J, of New Brunswick, N.J. The company lost the first opioid case to go to trial, in Oklahoma. A state-court judge there ordered the pharmaceutical and consumer products company to pay $572 million for contributing to the state’s opioid crisis. The company is appealing the verdict.

As settlements by drugmakers pile up, the Ohio trial is now shaping up to focus mostly on the companies that distribute drugs. Companies still included in the case as of Tuesday include AmerisourceBergen Corp., McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.


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Those companies have denied the allegations against them and argued they ran legal businesses that were heavily regulated.

J&J’s involvement in the lawsuits stems primarily from two opioid painkillers: the fentanyl patch Duragesic and Nucynta, a tapentadol pill. J&J also owned two companies that supplied the active pharmaceutical ingredients and narcotic raw materials to other drugmakers for their own opioid painkillers.


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J&J still makes Duragesic but sold Nucynta in 2015 and exited the opioid-ingredients businesses by 2016.




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Johnson & Johnson Quarterly Profit Jumps 42%

…< Stock Market News Today >… Johnson & Johnson hiked its full-year operational sales forecast as strong demand for its cancer drugs Darzalex and Imbruvica helped it beat estimates for second-quarter profit on Tuesday.

Overall strength in J&J’s pharmaceuticals unit, bolstered by recent approvals for new treatments such as its cancer drug Erleada also helped drive its earnings beat. Pharmaceutical sales rose 1.7% to $10.53 billion, above analysts’ estimates of $10.27 billion, according to three analysts polled by Refinitiv.

The company raised its operational sales forecast for 2019 to $82.4 billion to $83.2 billion, from a prior range of $82 billion to $82.8 billion.

The diversified healthcare company, the first major U.S. drugmaker to report second-quarter results, said net earnings rose to $5.61 billion, or $2.08 per share, from $3.95 billion, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.58 per share, beating analysts’ expectations for $2.46 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company reported a quarterly litigation expense of $409 million, down from $703 million a year earlier.

Sales fell 1.3% to $20.56 billion but came in ahead of estimates for $20.29 billion.



Johnson & Johnson Company Profile:

Johnson & Johnson is a holding company, which is engaged in the research and development, manufacture and sale of a range of products in the healthcare field. It operates through three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices.

Its primary focus is products related to human health and well-being. The Consumer segment includes a range of products used in the baby care, oral care, skin care, over-the-counter pharmaceutical, women’s health and wound care markets. The Pharmaceutical segment is focused on five therapeutic areas, including immunology, infectious diseases, neuroscience, oncology, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

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The Medical Devices segment includes a range of products used in the orthopedic, surgery, cardiovascular, diabetes care and vision care fields. Its research facilities are located in the United States, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom…. http://www.jnj.com


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