J&J, 2 Ohio counties reach $20M opioid settlement

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $20.4 million to avoid the first federal trial that accuses the drugmaker of fueling the opioid epidemic.

Under the deal, J&J will pay two Ohio counties, Cuyahoga and Summit, $10 million in cash and $5 million to cover legal expenses. J&J will also donate $5.4 million to groups fighting the opioid epidemic in the state. 

The company said 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."

This marks the first time J&J has settled an opioid-related lawsuit, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this year, the company lost when it fought allegations in Oklahoma that it illegally marketed its opioid drugs. A judge ordered the drugmaker to pay $572 million.

J&J is the fourth drugmaker to settle ahead of a bellwether trial set to begin Oct. 21 in Cleveland. Drugmakers Mallinckrodt, Endo International and Allergan also have made settlements. Purdue Pharma's settlement, which includes a bankruptcy filing, is pending.

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