Johnson & Johnson and the U.S.' three top drug distributors already agreed to a national opioid settlement worth $26 billion. But because that deal has yet to be finalized, the pharma giant is moving forward with a separate deal with Texas.
In a new settlement that's "consistent with the terms" of the nationwide deal, J&J agreed to pay Texas $297 million to resolve opioid claims from the state and its municipalities. The Texas settlement amount will be deducted from the nationwide deal, and J&J will be removed as a defendant in pending opioid litigation in the state, including two bellwether trials that had been scheduled for early next year.
J&J said the Texas settlement is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing, and that its opioid marketing was "appropriate and responsible."
The Texas settlement follows July's $26 billion deal between J&J, drug distributors, states and localities. It is yet to be finalized because it's still seeking the required support from states and localities. Eight states have yet to sign on, Reuters reports.
In that deal, J&J agreed to pay $5 billion, while the distributors agreed to pay $21 billion.
Meanwhile, the Texas deal isn't final until 96% of the localities that filed lawsuits against the drugmaker sign on, Reuters reports. By inking its own deal, Texas is moving to secure its payout regardless of the result of the national deal.
J&J has been busy defending itself against opioid and talc litigation in recent years. On the talc front, the company recently said it would move its talc liabilities to a new subsidiary and declare bankruptcy for that business. The company has set aside billions of dollars to deal with tens of thousands of lawsuits that claim J&J's talc products caused cancer. Plaintiffs are contesting the company's bankruptcy tactic.