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settlements

Ahead of opioid trial, Johnson & Johnson settles with Ohio counties for $20 million

Johnson & Johnson has reached a $20.4 million settlement with two counties in Ohio, in order to avoid being part of a major opioid trial slated to start in Cleveland later this month.

Under the terms of the settlement, Cuyahoga and Summit counties will receive $10 million in cash, $5 million as reimbursement for legal fees, and $5.4 million for opioid-related nonprofits. The deal does not include an admission of liability. In a statement Tuesday night, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, said the company "recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need."

Later this month, six companies — including Walgreens and Teva Pharmaceuticals — are scheduled to be defendants in a federal trial, accused of being responsible for the opioid epidemic that has left more than 20,000 people dead in the United States over the last 20 years. In August, Johnson & Johnson, which owns two companies that process and import the material used to manufacture oxycodone, was ordered to pay $572 million for its role in Oklahoma's opioid epidemic. The company has denied any wrongdoing and has appealed.