West Virginia reached a $99 million settlement with Janssen Pharmaceutical in opioid trial. Photo courtesy of West Virginia Attorney General's Office/Twitter
April 18 (UPI) -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Monday that his office reached a $99 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical in an opioid lawsuit.
The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed in 2019, alleging Janssen fueled the opioid crisis in the state by promoting higher dosage amounts without disclosing the serious risk of addiction, overstating the benefits of chronic opioid therapy, and concealing misconduct.
The state attorney general's office also sued Teva Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiaries, Allergan and Cephalon, in a second lawsuit over the same allegations, and that lawsuit is ongoing in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
Morrisey said in a statement Monday that the settlement with Janssen amounted to more than double the pharmaceutical company's settlement proposal of $48 million in a $26 billion national settlement, which the state had opted out of being included in earlier.
"This settlement will provide significant help to those affected the most by the opioid crisis in West Virginia," Morrisey said in a statement. "We are still arguing our case in court involving Teva and Allergan and my office is steadfast in holding everyone in the pharmaceutical supply chain accountable for their actions in causing this scourge in West Virginia."
"I've always said that at the end of the day, through our office's opioid work, West Virginia will have the highest per capita settlement results in the nation fighting for our people," he added. "It was absolutely the correct decision to proceed to trial and double the amount of relief we can provide to our citizens."
Under the settlement, cities and counties across the state will receive a lump sum payment within 45 days of approval by the state's political subdivisions.
Morrisey was asked if the settlement could provide momentum to settle with Teva and Allergan in an appearance on MetroNews "Talkline."
"We're always open if defendants want to put something that we should chew on the table but we're in a very, very, very strong position against Teva and Allergan and we're proceeding with the trial without delay," Morrison said in response.