In a recent development, Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, announced that Johnson & Johnson agreed to end the manufacture and sale of opioids throughout the country and reached a $230 million settlement that will be paid to the state of New York. As part of the agreement, the pharmaceutical company will allocate payments for nine years; however, it could pay an additional $ 30 million dollars in the event of the new state legislation to create a new opioid settlement fund.

The company confirmed in a statement that it has not marketed opioids in the United States since 2015 and that it discontinued business in 2020. The main argument of the lawsuits is that the companies have overprescribed the drugs causing consumers to become addicted and abuse other illegal forms of opioids. Yet, the companies have defended themselves by saying that they have only distributed the amount necessary to help people with medical problems.

In a statement released this Saturday, the New York attorney general clarified that the opioid epidemic has been able to successfully wreak havoc among the countless communities residing in New York State along with the rest of the country, leaving millions of people still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids. 

She further added, saying that Johnson & Johnson has helped enhance the fire and fuelled it; however, today, they have committed to leave the opioid business in not only New York but across the entire nation. She reconfirmed that opioids will not be manufactured or sold in and around the United States. 

The $2 billion lawsuits began in September 2020, when New York State sued Johnson & Johnson for allegedly committing insurance fraud by promoting addictive pain relievers. The opioid crisis is expected to have killed more than 500,000 people in the United States over the past twenty years, according to a report by the CDC.

The opioid lawsuit in New York against the rest of the companies like Purdue Pharma last year declared bankruptcy after receiving hundreds of lawsuits, Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, and Allergan Finance LLC will begin this week.  In late 2020, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Walmart, accusing the company of helping fuel the opioid crisis in the United States by illegally distributing controlled substances to its pharmacies across the country. 2019 registered a record when accounting for more than 50,000 fatal overdoses of opiates, according to data from federal authorities.

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