On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a $290 million settlement agreement for Texas with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson over the ongoing opioid crisis that accelerated in 2020.
Earlier this year, Paxton had brought Texas into a $26 billion multistate opioid settlement with Johnson & Johnson, along with McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen. The lawsuit accused the opioid distributor of deceptive marketing tactics that were responsible for the 30% national increase in overdose deaths in 2020. Though all four companies have denied wrongdoing, Johnson & Johnson has since agreed to pay into the Qualified Settlement Fund, which is Texas’ portion of settlement dollars. In a press release, the company maintained that the settlement is not “an admission of any liability or wrongdoing” and emphasized that its prescription opioid medications accounted for less than 1% of total opioid prescriptions in Texas and the U.S.
“I am pleased that all parties have reached final agreement on this monumental settlement. This is the next step to bring much-needed funding for Texans who have fallen victim to the irresponsible and deceptive marketing practices from opioid manufacturers that spurred this epidemic,” Paxton said Tuesday. “My office will continue to aggressively work to hold those accountable for causing this crisis. These funds will bring life-changing resources to those victimized by this tragic crisis.”
Texas is also expected to receive up to $1.2 billion from three opioid distributors and the settlement money will become available to the state on Jan. 1. According to the settlement, 70% of the money will go to the Texas Opioid Abatement Fund through the Texas Opioid Council.