D.he US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson no longer wants to manufacture and sell opioid pain relievers in the US. As New York attorney general Letitia James announced on Saturday, the drug manufacturer committed itself in a multi-million dollar settlement with the state of New York to “get out of the opioid business nationwide”. Johnson & Johnson also agreed to a compensation payment of 230 million dollars (192.6 million euros), which can be stretched over nine years.
According to the attorney general’s office, the money will be invested in prevention and education projects as well as in the treatment of opioid addicts in New York State. Should the state create a compensation fund in the first year, it would be said to be another $ 30 million due.
Millions of people dependent
The opioid crisis has “wreaked havoc in numerous locations in New York and across the country,” said Attorney General James. Millions of people are still dependent on the “dangerous and deadly” pain killers. Johnson & Johnson participated in “igniting this fire”. Now the company has committed itself to get out of business – “not just in New York, but across the country”.
In the USA, several large pharmaceutical companies are faced with billions in compensation claims because of the opioid crisis. The opioids include the pain reliever fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than the illegal opioid drug heroin and is highly addictive. Fentanyl was originally used to treat severe pain, particularly in cancer patients, but doctors have also increasingly prescribed it to other patients.
The manufacturers and US pharmacies are accused of having aggressively advertised the products and not responding to warning signs of the addiction crisis. According to the CDC, around 90,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2020 alone, most of them from opioids. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in US courts related to the opioid crisis.