California seeks $50B from J&J, Teva, Endo & Allergan for role in opioid epidemic

Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Endo International and AbbVie’s Allergan unit will go on trial April 19 in a lawsuit filed by several California counties alleging the drugmakers deceptively marketed opioids, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The counties are seeking settlements totaling more than $50 billion for the drugmakers' marketing practices, which the counties allege downplayed the significant addiction risk posed by opioids.

Teva told the Journal it would defend its practices against the allegations but is prepared to settle the opioid litigation nationally. Johnson & Johnson also said it will defend itself against the claims. Endo and Allergan declined the Journal's requests for comment.

The trial's first phase will determine if the drugmakers are culpable. It will be overseen by Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson and will last for months, according to the Journal. If Mr. Wilson rules that the drugmakers are liable, the next phase will explore settlement agreements.

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