Johnson & Johnson pays $123 million to WA following opioid lawsuit

Photo courtesy U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Washington received a $123.3 million lump sum payment from Johnson & Johnson due to a lawsuit over the drug manufacturer’s role in the opioid crisis, the state attorney general’s office announced Tuesday.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the company in 2020. To avoid a trial, Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest suppliers of raw materials used to produce opioids, agreed to pay the lump sum in January.

The state will receive $149.5 million overall from Johnson & Johnson, with $26.2 million going to cover legal costs.

Ferguson rejected a 2021 multistate resolution with Johnson & Johnson that would have given Washington about $24.4 million less than the state’s individual lawsuit.

The funds will be split evenly between state and local governments, which are expected to receive opioid settlement dollars over the next 17 years, according to the attorney general’s office.

Under the settlement, the City of Edmonds will receive $168,460.55, Lynnwood $424,306.37 and Mountlake Terrace $116,142.50. Snohomish County will receive $3,802,938.18.

The payment is the latest to arrive out of the nearly $1.3 billion the state has won from settlements with companies involved in the opioid industry.

Related: How WA counties are spending millions in opioid settlement dollars

State lawmakers spent about $52 million in opioid settlement funds during this year’s legislative session. Those funds went to various efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, including prevention education, overdose reversal medication and treatment centers.

The state still has pending opioid epidemic litigation against two national pharmacy chains.

— By Grace Deng, Washington State Standard

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