Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report) confirmed Wednesday that it will contribute $4 billion to a liability fund amid at redressing victims of the nation's opioid crisis, noting the payment will hive its previously-reported third quarter earnings.
Johnson & Johnson said the payment, which was outlined by a committee of State Attorneys General earlier this week, "is intended to provide certainty for involved parties and critical assistance for families and communities in need," according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
"This agreement in principle is not an admission of liability or wrong-doing and would resolve opioid lawsuits filed and future claims by states, cities and counties," the company said in the SEC filing. "The Company cannot predict if or when the agreement will be finalized."
The company also said its reported GAAP net earnings for the third quarter would be trimmed from $4.8 billion to $1.8 billion, and from $14.2 billion to $11.1 billion nine months ending in September, as a result of the payment. However, the payment would have no impact on adjusted earnings for either of those periods, Johnson & Johnson said.
Johnson & Johnson's adjusted earnings for the three months ending in September were pegged at $2.12 per share, up 3.4% from the same period last year, while group revenues rose 1.7% to $20.7 billion.
Johnson & Johnson shares closed 0.54% higher on the session Wednesday at $129.90, modestly lifting the stock into positive territory for the year, and were marked 0.15% lower in after-hours trading following publication of the SEC filing.
Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $20.4 million, including opioid-rleated damages and legal costs, to Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Oho, but admitted no culpability. That deal followed a similar agreement with a court in Oklahoma that saw the group pay $572.1 million in damages for the misleading marketing and promotion of its Nucynta and Duragesic painkillers.
"With respect to opioids, you've seen two divergent paths," Johnson & Johnson CFO Joe Wolk told investors on a conference call following its third quarter earnings last week. "In Oklahoma, even the Attorney General said many times during the court proceedings, this is not about Johnson & Johnson, it's about that there is an opioid crisis."
"In Ohio, you saw something different," he explained. "We saw a reasonable amount in proportion to other companies that were involved as defendants. We were particularly pleased to see that the funds were going to victims of opioid addiction."
"And so for many reasons there, we thought the best path for all stakeholders was settlement, and that's something that we will always kind of take into account in terms of what is the best solution for all stakeholders, including investors who obviously want certainty," Wolk added.
Last month, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and said it had reached a tentative agreement to settle lawsuits brought by attorneys general in 24 U.S. states, and well as similar actions filed by legal counsels in 2,000 cites and counties around the country that it estimates will "provide more than $10 billion of value to address the opioid crisis."
Dozens of other U.S. states, however, as well as many other private and public plantiffs, have declined to participate in the proposed settlement, leaving Purdue and its controlling Sackler family liable for billions more in judgments should the various suits, linked to the breadth and depth of the opioid crisis, eventually succeed.