By Joseph Chalfant

Johnson & Johnson has settled with New York State for $230 million for its involvement in the opioid epidemic.

The settlement terms stipulate that the company can no longer sell opioids nationwide and must pay out $33 million in legal fees.

The settlement ends just one of over 3,000 lawsuits between government and tribal authorities and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Authorities seek $26.4 billion in fines and damages across the country, $2 billion of which are for attorney fees. According to the Wall Street Journal, companies facing suits include McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson must pay out the sum over nine years to resolve claims involving opioids. The company is also barred from engaging in lobbying for opioid deregulation at all levels of government, according to CNBC.

Trials are ongoing in two other states. California is pursuing drug manufacturers, and West Virginia is pursuing drug distributors. Three other pharmaceutical companies will face trial in New York unless a settlement is reached.

The nationwide fight against opioids began in 2017 when then-President Donald Trump declared the crisis a national emergency after nearly 500,000 people died due to opioid-related issues since 1999. The Trump administration committed $2 billion to various relief efforts in 2019.

At the same time, Oklahoma moved to take legal action against Johnson & Johnson. In August 2019, an Oklahoma judge had initially demanded that the company pay $572 million for its role in the deaths of 6,000 Oklahomans. That figure was later revised down to $465 million in November 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The figure would amount to the company paying for 20 years of “treatment and other programs” for individuals affected by the epidemic.

As trial dates approach for the other 3,000 cases, more settlements are likely to be seen.