July 21, 2021

A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general announced on Wednesday a $26 billion national settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three companies that distributed opioid painkillers even as addiction and overdose deaths skyrocketed.

"The opioid epidemic has torn families apart and killed thousands of North Carolinians," said North Carolina state Attorney General Josh Stein, one of the lead negotiators.

Stein said the deal will "force these drug companies to pay a historic amount of money to bring much-needed treatment and recovery services" to North Carolina and other states that sign on to the settlement.

States have 30 days to decide whether to embrace the deal. Local governments will have 150 days to sign on.

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Cohen Milstein represented the States of Vermont and Indiana in their litigation against the three distributors and the State of New Jersey in its litigation against Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of J&J) as well as assisting these states in investigations and other litigation related to the marketing, distribution and sale of opioids.