The American laboratory has been accused for many years of fueling the addiction of thousands of people: Johnson & Johnson will finally suspend its sales of opiates in the United States, as announced on Saturday June 25 by the New York attorney general , Letitia James. The move comes after a $ 230 million settlement with New York State.
The deal, reached in New York City, spares J&J a lawsuit on Long Island, but the group remains faced with other legal proceedings nationwide (a lawsuit is underway in California, for example). Mme James said in a statement that the group would spread the payment of $ 230 million over nine years. The lab could also have to pay an additional $ 30 million in the first year if new legislation to create an opioid settlement fund is enacted by the state’s executive chamber.
“The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc in countless communities across New York State and across the country, leaving millions of people still dependent on these dangerous and even fatal drugs.”, also said the prosecutor in the press release.
“Johnson & Johnson has helped fuel this crisis, but today the firm pledges to quit the opioid industry, not just in New York, but across the country.”added Mme James. As a result, J&J will no longer manufacture or sell opiates in the United States.
The $ 230 million is intended to fund efforts to prevent, treat and educate about the dangers of these substances in New York State.
Johnson & Johnson, Purdue, as well as other pharmaceutical companies and distributors are accused of having encouraged doctors to over-prescribe these drugs – initially reserved for patients with particularly serious cancers – even though they knew they were causing serious harm. addiction.
From 1999 onwards, their state of dependence led many users of these drugs to administer increasingly higher doses or to switch to illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, a An extremely potent synthetic opiate that has drastically increased the number of fatal overdoses across the country. Since then, an estimated 500,000 people have died from overdoses in the United States.
The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s main public health agencies, put forward the figure of 90,000 drug overdose deaths in 2020 alone. Three-quarters of them involved opiates.