On Saturday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that the state has reached a settlement with big Pharma Johnson & Johnson who would atop selling opioids nationwide as well pay a $230 million settlement. The settlement includes resolution of opioid related claims. The payments would be allocated over a period of nine years. The press release also stated that the company would pay an additional 30 million if the executive chamber signed into law new legislation that would create an opioid settlement fund.
The opioid crisis has reportedly killed almost 500,000 people. Major pharmaceutical companies have been sued for overprescribing these drugs although they knew that they were addictive. However, the pharmaceutical manufacturers have said that they have distributed these opioids for medical issues.
James also said that the opioid epidemic had created havoc on countless communities across the state of New York as well as across the nation. She said that millions were still addicted to these deadly and dangerous drugs.
She said that although Johnson & Johnson had helped to fuel the fire of opioid use, on Saturday they had committed to leaving the opioid business not only in the state but across the nation.
According to the press release the lawsuits against the rest of the defendants was scheduled to begin later in the week.
Johnson & Johnson faces lawsuits on its opioids in other parts of the country. The pharmaceutical company had developed a unique strain of strain of poppy called the “Norman Poppy” which was high in raw narcotic materials and processed it through its subsidiary. It was used to manufacture opioid drugs for its pharmaceutical division and was also sold as a raw material to other opioid manufacturers.
The company also overstated these drugs’ effectiveness through aggressive marketing and claimed that it had low addiction risk.
However, in 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that there was no study to show opioids were effective to treat long term pain. It also said that there was “extensive evidence” that persons who used opioids for more than three months had a higher risk of opioid use disorder. The CDC also said that there were safer drugs for pain management including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil).
Last year, Johnson and Johnson along with its distributors, made a public announcement that they had set aside $26 billion in a period of 18 years to settle all cases they faced. Big pharma has recently realized that it is practical to settle cases instead of repeatedly losing in court and thereby paying extra money in the long run.