- Johnson & Johnson shares jumped as much as 3.6% on Wednesday after the company settled two Ohio opioid-crisis lawsuits for $20.4 million.
- The settlement allows J&J to avoid an October federal trial looking to hold numerous pharmaceutical companies accountable for the US drug epidemic.
- J&J was found guilty in an Oklahoma state case in late August and was ordered to pay a $572 million in damages. The fine landed well below the $17 billion Oklahoma sought in the opioid-related lawsuit.
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Johnson & Johnson surged as much as 3.5% in early Wednesday trading after the company settled two Ohio opioid-related lawsuits for $20.4 million.
The settlement allows J&J to skip an upcoming federal trial looking to hold health care giants accountable for the drug epidemic. The remaining defendants in the October 21 federal trial include McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Henry Schein.
The company said its settlement doesn’t include any admission of liability. J&J will pay $10 million to Cuyahoga and Summit counties, reimburse $5 million in legal costs, and pay $5.4 million to opioid-related nonprofit programs.
“The company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need,” J&J said in a Tuesday statement.
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Opioids contributed to more than 400,000 overdose fatalities in the US from 1999 to 2017, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017 alone, with 68% of the fatalities involving prescription or illicit opioids.
An Oklahoma judge ruled against J&J in a late August state case accusing the company of fueling the opioid crisis. The drugmaker was ordered to pay a $572 million fine, a sum that fell well under the more than $17 billion sought by the state.
J&J stock rose more than 5% in after-hours trading following the Oklahoma ruling.
Oxycontin producer Purdue Pharma folded in September after lawsuits pushed the company to file for bankruptcy protection. The company’s settlement costs could breach $12 billion over time, the Associated Press reported.
The company traded at $131.93 per share as of 10:45 a.m. ET Wednesday, up about 3% year-t0-date.
J&J has 12 “buy” ratings, 11 “hold” ratings, and one “sell” rating from analysts, with a consensus price target of $148.53, according to Bloomberg data.
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