If you want to know about the massive impact of America’s opioid addiction epidemic, look no further than the latest headlines from CNN. In a glaring front page story, the famed news site highlighted the corporate giant Johnson & Johnson and their recent settlement with the state of New York regarding the crisis. According to the latest reports, they are about to settle a $230 million lawsuit that accused them of contributing to the country’s mounting dependencies.
The state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, minced no words when calling out J & J for their alleged responsibility. “Johnson & Johnson helped fuel this fire,” she told the site. “While no amount of money will ever compensate for the thousands who lost their lives or became addicted to opioids across our state, these funds will be used to prevent any future devastation.”
There is no denying that the company will be on the hook for a huge sum of money. And according to the story, those funds will all be put to good use. It is expected that the $230 million will go towards addiction education, prevention and treatment. The payout is expected to occur over a period of nine years and there is a possibility that even more money (which could be as much as $30 million) could be shelled out based on specific New York laws.
Not surprisingly, J & J issued a statement of their own which made a point to deny responsibility for the addictions and deaths related to the crisis. “This settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing,” the company said. “We at Johnson & Johnson remain committed to providing certainty for involved parties and critical assistance for communities in need.”
The root of the case actually goes back to J & J’s pharmaceutical division and claims that the company did not put enough safeguards in place with their painkiller sales and marketing tactics. They are certainly not the only corporate giant to be called out in a suit like this. Purdue Pharma was also ordered to pay out several hundred million for the role they allegedly played in the crisis.
Obviously this is a painful sting for Johnson & Johnson. And though they did not admit wrongdoing, the company is taking actions to change their practices moving forward. In a separate statement, J & J told the press that they have now decided to discontinue the production and sale of all their pain medications across the U.S.