J&J Offers $4 Billion Opioid Litigation Settlement

Date : 10/16/2019 @ 6:09PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Johnson and Johnson (JNJ)
Quote : 131.98  -1.02 (-0.77%) @ 9:59PM
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J&J Offers $4 Billion Opioid Litigation Settlement

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By Peter Loftus and Sara Randazzo 

Johnson & Johnson has offered to pay about $4 billion to settle all lawsuits in the U.S. accusing the company of contributing to the opioid-addiction epidemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

If completed, the deal would resolve more than 2,000 lawsuits by state and local governments alleging that J&J's marketing of pain drugs including Duragesic and Nucynta fueled the opioid crisis. J&J sold the U.S. rights to Nucynta to another company in 2015. The suits also allege that J&J is culpable for opioid abuse because of former divisions, which the company sold in 2016, that supplied active ingredients for other opioid manufacturers.

Bloomberg News reported the amount of J&J's settlement offer Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that three major drug distributors were in talks to pay $18 billion to settle the opioid litigation, and that J&J was involved in the discussions to contribute additional money.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Inc. also is in talks to settle the opioid lawsuits against it by providing free drugs, according to people familiar with the matter.

A $4 billion settlement would probably please J&J investors, because analysts had expected the company would have to pay more. Wells Fargo had estimated that the opioid litigation could cost the company $5 billion to $10 billion to settle. Wall Street's concerns about the litigation's cost have shadowed J&J stock.

In August, an Oklahoma judge ordered J&J to pay $572 million for its role in the state's opioid crisis, following a trial that began in May. On Tuesday, the judge said he made a miscalculation that overstated the award by more than $100 million, which he said will be reflected in his final order.

J&J said in August it would appeal the judgment and that the judge's conclusions disregard the company's compliance with federal and state laws.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company also recently agreed to a $20.4 million settlement of opioid lawsuits brought by two Ohio counties, avoiding a trial in the case scheduled to start next week.

J&J Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told analysts on a conference call Tuesday regarding quarterly financial results that the company was open to settlements of opioid lawsuits like the ones in Ohio.

Write to Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@wsj.com and Sara Randazzo at sara.randazzo@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 16, 2019 13:54 ET (17:54 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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