Johnson & Johnson settles with Ohio counties for $20 million prior to opioid trial

Johnson & Johnson and its pharmaceutical subsidiary, Janssen, agreed to a $20.4 million settlement with two Ohio counties Tuesday in an effort to avoid a lengthy and costly federal trial about the opioid addiction epidemic.

The opioid manufacturer company said the settlements with Cuyahoga and Summit counties include no admission of liability and removes the Johnson & Johnson from the federal trial scheduled to begin this month in the Northern District of Ohio, according to a news release.

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

Johnson & Johnson will pay a combined $10 million settlement in addition to reimbursing the counties $5 million for costs used to prepare for litigation and donating another $5.4 million in charitable contributions to non-profit organizations in connection with opioid-related programs.

A number of companies are scheduled to face federal trial Oct. 21 in the U.S. Northern District of Ohio over whether manufacturers of prescription opioids misrepresented the risks of long-term opioid use.

An Oklahoma judge ruled against Johnson & Johnson in a similar case in August, ordering the corporation to pay $572 million to the state. Judge Thad Balkman’s decision accused Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary of pushing doctors to prescribe opioids while downplaying the risks of addiction.