September 28, 2023

New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference to announce criminal justice reform on May 21, 2021 in New York City, United States.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

New York attorney general Letitia James announced on Saturday that Johnson & Johnson agreed to stop opioid sales nationwide in a $ 230 million settlement with New York State.

As part of the settlement, the company will settle opioid-related claims and spread payments over nine years. It could also pay $ 30 million more in the first year if the state executive board signs a new law creating an opioid settlement fund, according to the press release from James’ office.

The settlement follows years of lawsuits filed by states, cities, and counties against large pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis that killed nearly 500,000 people in the United States over the past few decades.

Governments have argued that companies have prescribed the medication too often, causing people to become addicted and abuse other illegal forms of opioids, while companies have stated that they have distributed the required amount of the product to people with medical problems help.

“The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc in countless communities in New York state and the rest of the nation, and millions are still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids,” James said in a statement.

“Johnson & Johnson helped start that fire, but today they are pledging to leave the opioid business – not just in New York but across the country,” she said.

The New York opioid lawsuit against the rest of the defendants will begin this week, according to the announcement. Johnson & Johnson is still facing lawsuits in other parts of the country.

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