J&J and others look to put opioid lawsuits to rest with historic settlement

July 22, 2021

Attorneys general from seven states announced a massive $26 billion settlement deal with J&J and others to resolve mountains of litigation related to opioid marketing and distribution. 

Under the agreement, McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., and Cardinal Health will all pay $21 billion over 18 years while J&J will be on the hook for $5 billion over the next five years.

Although many drugmakers and distributors have long been accused of fueling the opioid epidemic, many companies have maintained that the production and distribution of painkillers were necessary and lawful under federally regulated guidelines. Yet, the legal costs related to the avalanche of lawsuits have forced them to negotiate.

So far, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, Louisiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut announced the agreement, but other states could join on to the settlement. And if not enough states join onto the agreement and the lawsuits continue, the companies could still back out.