U.S. NEWS

Johnson & Johnson Settles With Ohio Counties Ahead Of Major Opioid Trial

The drug manufacturer will pay two counties $20.4 million as a federal trial over responsibility for the opioid epidemic looms.

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday it will pay $20.4 million to settle claims by two Ohio counties in a lawsuit that accused the drugmaker of contributing to an U.S. opioid addiction epidemic.

The company said in a statement the settlement removes it from a federal trial against multiple manufacturers and distributors scheduled to begin on Oct. 21..

J&J will pay $10 million to Cuyahoga and Summit counties, reimburse $5 million of their legal and other expenses and provide $5.4 million to non-profit organizations that run opioid-related programs in the counties.

On Monday, Mallinckrodt Plc finalized a $24 million settlement agreement with the same two counties.

Endo International Plc and Allergan Plc also settled with the two counties in August to avoid going to trial.

Remaining defendants in the Oct. 21 trial include McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health , Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd , Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Henry Schein Inc .

Earlier in the year, an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572.1 million to the state for its part in fueling an opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing addictive painkillers.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Cynthia Osterman)