/ 23 July 2021

Big pharma reaches landmark opioid settlement

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and 3 of the biggest drug distributors in the US have reached a US$26 billion deal to settle thousands of lawsuits over the nation’s opioid crisis. More than 3,000 lawsuits have been launched by states, cities, and counties, with opioid painkillers like Fentanyl killing more than 500,000 Americans over the past 2 decades. The settlement is the 2nd largest in American legal history, following the $246 billion tobacco settlement paid out in 1998. If 14 state Attorney Generals agree to settle, Johnson & Johnson will be barred from manufacturing, marketing and selling opioids. The settlement will also remove any future legal liabilities for the drug companies. While the money will be handed out to the states to spend on treatment, prevention and education, not everyone was pleased with the result. “There’s not enough money in the world frankly to address the pain and suffering,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said.

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