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Johnson & Johnson Settles New York State Opioid Lawsuit ahead of Trial

A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine, California, January 2017. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $230 million to New York State, ahead of a trial pertaining to the opioid crisis set to begin on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The deal will keep Johnson & Johnson out of the trial in New York, which includes other makers of opioid prescription drugs, but will not remove the company from trials scheduled in other states.

Most U.S. states and over 3,000 counties, cities, and local governments have filed suit against drug makers in the wake of the crisis, including AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health Inc., and McKessen Corp. States are seeking a combined $26 billion from those three companies as well as Johnson & Johnson.

The New York trial is the first to be presented before a jury, and includes various other companies from throughout the opioid supply chain. Separate trials in California and West Virginia will resume on Monday. The trials have moved slowly due to their complicated nature, and were further delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

New York prosecutors’ focus remains “getting funds into communities devastated by opioids as quickly as possible,” state attorney general Letitia James said in a statement.

The various lawsuits come after at least 400,000 Americans died of legal and illegal opioid overdoses since 1999, according to federal data. The average life expectancy of the U.S. dropped in the middle of the past decade amid a rise in opioid overdoses.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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