Opioid crisis: $26 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson and three of the largest United States drug distributors

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Researcher: Ariana Arce​

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Journalist: Aaron Vivanco

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Editor: Daniela Polo

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Opioid crisis: $26 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson and three of the largest United States drug distributors

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to a $230 million settlement with the State of New York to resolve claims that they helped fuel the opioid crisis. As part of the settlement, J&J has also committed to stop the manufacture and distribution of opioids not only in New York but also across the United States.

The settlement was finally reached after years of lawsuits by states, cities, and counties against major pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis, which has caused nearly 500,000 deaths from opioid overdose in the United States from 1999 to 2019.

Provisional data as of xxx from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 2020 was a record year for overall drug overdose deaths in the United States, with an estimated 93,331 deaths—a 29% rise from the previous year.

Defendants included the following companies:

● McKesson Corporation (pharmacy business services)
● Cardinal Health (healthcare solutions)
● AmerisourceBergen (pharmaceutical distribution solutions)
● Purdue Pharma (manufactures and markets medications)
● Janssen Pharmaceuticals (pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson & Johnson)
● Endo International (pharmaceutical company)
● Teva Pharmaceutical (international pharmaceutical company)
● Allergan, formerly Actavis. (global pharmaceutical company)
● Watson Pharmaceuticals (pharmaceutical company)
● Covidien (manufacturer of medical devices and supplies)
● Johnson & Johnson (world’s largest healthcare company)
● CVS Pharmacy (American retail corporation)
● Walgreens (the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States behind CVS Health)
● Rite Aid (American drugstore chain)

Opioid pain medications reach: In 2010, 254 million prescriptions for opioids were filled in the United States.

The most commonly used opioids are:

  • prescription opioids, such as OxyContin and Vicodin
  • fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50–100 times more potent than morphine
  • heroin, an illegal drug

Common drug names and brand names of opioids

When any of these drugs are prescribed to you or a family member for any reason, be aware that they are opioids and should be taken as directed and only when needed.

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen
  • Hydrocodone bitartrate
  • Hydrocodone-Homatropine
  • Hydrocodone-Ibuprofen
  • Pseudoephedrine-Hydrocodone
  • Hydrocodone-Chlorpheniramine
  • Hydrocodone-CPM-Pseudoephedrine
  • Morphine
  • Morphine-Naltrexone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Fentanyl Citrate
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine Poli-Chlorphenir Poli
  • Acetaminophen with codeine phosphate/Acetaminophen-Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Methadone Hydrochloride
  • Morphine Sulfate
  • Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
  • Meperidine
  • Tramadol
  • Carfentanil
  • Buprenorphine