New Hampshire to get $40.5M in opioids case settlement

Sep 1, 2022, 5:37 AM | Updated: 5:46 am

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $40.5 million in a settlement with New Hampshire over its role in the opioid addiction crisis, days before the case was scheduled for trial, the state attorney general’s office said Thursday.

The state filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary in 2018, alleging that they aggressively marketed their opioids to prescribers and patients in New Hampshire and misrepresented that their opioids were safer than other alternatives.

The lawsuit also alleged that Johnson & Johnson made misleading statements about opioids; misrepresented that its opioids were rarely addictive when used for chronic pain; and targeted vulnerable populations, such as the elderly.

“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,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement.

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., denied the state’s claims, saying it truthfully marketed its prescription opioids, which accounted for a small share of the opioid medications prescribed in New Hampshire, complied with all applicable laws and regulations, did not cause the harm alleged by the state.

“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,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. “The Company will continue to defend against any litigation that the final agreement does not resolve.”

New Hampshire was one of a few states that did not join a national settlement with the company in February because its opioid crisis was “particularly severe” and because the state had already devoted “significant litigation resources” in preparation for trial, the attorney general office’s news release said.

The terms of the national settlement were also less favorable to the state, which would have amounted to about $26.5 million paid over nine years.

Under the settlement announced Thursday, Johnson & Johnson will make a single payment. The state will receive $31.5 million after payment of litigation costs and fees. All of the money goes to opioid abatement programs, including a dedicated state trust fund that would award grants to help deal with opioid use treatment and recovery. Some money also directly goes to counties, cities and towns that filed lawsuits.

New Hampshire did join in a settlement earlier this year with three pharmaceutical distributors accused of fueling the opioid epidemic — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. New Hampshire’s share was approximately $115 million, to be paid over 18 years.

Opioids — including both prescription drugs and illegal ones like heroin and illicitly produced fentanyl — have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000, and the number of cases reached a record high in 2020.

New Hampshire was one of the hardest hit states. In 2016, nearly 500 people died of overdoses — a nearly ten-fold increase since 2000, leading the deputy administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to call the state “ground zero” for the crisis.

The state spent millions in federal funds in 2019 to create a hub-and-spoke model called “The Doorway” in which hospitals and others work with local providers to ensure that help is less than an hour away anywhere in the state. That helped keep the state’s overdose death rate steady, but it remains higher than the national average.

“We’re not seeing any lessening of overdoses,” Deputy Attorney General James Boffetti said in a recent interview.

In addition to New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Washington and West Virginia did not join in the national settlement with Johnson & Johnson and have sought their own deals or taken legal action. West Virginia, which has long led the nation in drug overdose deaths per capita, agreed to a $99 million settlement in April.

In recent years, drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies have reached settlements of opioid claims with state, local and Native American tribal governments and other entities totaling more than $40 billion. Most of the money is required to be used to address the addiction crisis.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - AFC quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15), of the Kansas City Chiefs passes against the NFC durin...
Associated Press

NFL ends Pro Bowl; skills competitions, flag game instead

The Pro Bowl got a major makeover. The NFL has eliminated its full-contact all-star game and is replacing it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game. The new event will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges over several […]
23 hours ago
People leave flowers and pay their respects to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside th...
Associated Press

Tense Japan holds funeral for assassinated ex-leader Abe

TOKYO (AP) — A rare and controversial state funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began Tuesday in tense Japan where the event for one of the country’s most divisive leaders has deeply split public opinion. Abe’s widow, Akie Abe, in a black formal kimono, walked slowly into the Budokan hall venue carrying an […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Famed American ski mountaineer missing in Nepal mountain

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Rescuers in a helicopter were searching on the world’s eighth-highest mountain Tuesday for a famed U.S. ski mountaineer a day after she fell off the mountain near the peak. Also Monday, an avalanche at a lower elevation on Mount Manaslu swept several climbers, killing a Nepali guide and injuring other climbers. […]
23 hours ago
South Carolina Rep. John McCravy, R-Greenwood, talks about a total ban on abortion he has proposed ...
Associated Press

Major abortion law changes unlikely in S. Carolina after Roe

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Whether conservative South Carolina changes its abortion laws at all in the wake of this year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision may be decided by divided conservatives Tuesday in the state House. South Carolina for decades was at the forefront of passing more restrictive abortion laws that challenged Roe v. Wade. before […]
23 hours ago
Adismarys Abreu, 16, poses for a photo at her home, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in Miami. Abreu had bee...
Associated Press

Teen interest in long-lasting birth control soars after Roe

Sixteen-year-old Adismarys Abreu had been discussing a long-lasting birth control implant with her mother for about a year as a potential solution to increasing menstrual pain. Then Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Abreu joined the throng of teens rushing to their doctors as states began to ban or severely limit abortion. “I’m definitely not […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, speaks during a rally outside the White House i...
Associated Press

Jury to be picked for Oath Keeper boss’ Jan. 6 sedition case

Jury selection is expected to get underway Tuesday in the trial of the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group and four associates charged with seditious conspiracy, one of the most serious cases to emerge from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Stewart Rhodes and the others are the first Jan. […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
New Hampshire to get $40.5M in opioids case settlement