Johnson & Johnson said late on Tuesday it will pay $20.4m (£16.6m) to settle claims by two Ohio counties, allowing the US healthcare giant to avoid an upcoming federal trial seeking to hold the industry responsible for the nation’s opioid epidemic.
The drugs firm became the fourth to settle claims ahead of the Federal Court trial against multiple manufacturers and distributors in Cleveland scheduled for later this month.
The case is considered a bellwether for more than 2,600 lawsuits by state and local governments that are pending in the US.
“The settlement allows the company to avoid the resource demands and uncertainty of a trial as it continues to seek meaningful progress in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.
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