On Friday, the New Hampshire Department of Justice (NH DOJ) announced in a press release that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to settle the state’s claims against the company over claims related to the opioid epidemic. The company has agreed to pay $40.5 million; the NH DOJ states that $31.5 million of the settlement will be used for abating the effects opioid abuse.
In the press release, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said that “As part of our continued efforts to battle the opioid epidemic, New Hampshire is a leader in ensuring that the companies who played a role in perpetuating this crisis are held accountable for their actions. This resolution provides a positive step forward in ensuring these devastating business practices are not repeated, and that resources are allocated to help stem the tide of the opioid crisis. I thank the Department of Justice for their work on this case.”
In 2018, the state filed a complaint against J&J, alleging the company misrepresented their opioids as safer than other alternatives in their aggressive marketing campaign to prescribers and patients in New Hampshire. The state further alleged that J&J misrepresented their opioids as rarely addictive, negligently promoted the concept of pseudoaddiction, and disseminated of misleading statements regarding their opioids.
Finally, the press release explained that the opioid crisis hit New Hampshire particularly severely through the actions of Johnson & Johonson; as a result, the state did not joint an earlier national settlement with the company.
Johnson & Johnson released a statement on their website regarding the settlement: “This settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing and marks continued progress in resolving opioid-related claims and litigation by states, cities, counties, and other subdivisions in the United States. The Company will continue to defend against any litigation that the final agreement does not resolve.”