Johnson & Johnson settles Ohio lawsuits to avoid federal trial

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(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday it will pay $20.4 million to settle claims by two Ohio counties, allowing the U.S. healthcare giant to avoid an upcoming federal trial seeking to hold the industry responsible for the nation’s opioid epidemic.

J&J became the fourth drugmaker to settle claims ahead of the Federal Court trial against multiple manufacturers and distributors in Cleveland scheduled for later this month. The case is considered a bellwether for more than 2,600 lawsuits by state and local governments that are pending nationally.

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