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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Johnson & Johnson has spent $900 million on litigation in the first half of this year, and that tally is only going to swell.

The big picture: J&J is fighting thousands of legal battles over the safety of its prescription drugs and medical devices — chipping away at public trust in a health care company that has become a household name, and threatening to strip billions of dollars out of its coffers.

Where it stands: A jury recently said J&J had to pay $8 billion to a man who claimed he got enlarged breasts from taking the company's antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

  • An Oklahoma judge ruled J&J has to pay $572 million for its role in creating the opioid crisis. Billions more could be on the line for the company in the 2,000 other opioids cases.
  • J&J paid $1 billion earlier this year to settle cases tied to defective metal hip implants.
  • The company is appealing a $4.7 billion verdict tied to claims that its talc powder caused cancer in women.
  • A trial is underway in California over J&J's allegedly faulty pelvic mesh devices.
  • The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether J&J's contracting practices for Remicade, a treatment for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, violate federal antitrust laws.

What we're watching: We'll likely know more about J&J's litigation costs when the company reports its third-quarter earnings this week.

Yes, but: Investors have not fled J&J, because it is the most profitable health care company in the country, collecting almost $9.4 billion of profit in the first half of this year.

What they're saying: J&J submitted a statement that said its "reputation remains strong," and when it comes to its legal cases, "the facts in these cases are on our side."

Go deeper

Prosecutor: Fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was "justified"

Khalil Ferebee (C), the son of Andrew Brown Jr., and attorneys Bakari Sellers (L) and Harry Daniel (R) at a May 11 news conference in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A North Carolina prosecutor said Tuesday that the death of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man fatally shot by sheriff's deputies last month, was "tragic" but "justified," due to the immediate threat officers believed Brown posed.

Why it matters: The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into Brown's death. Police in Elizabeth City shot him five times, including in the back of his head, according to an independent autopsy report released by family attorneys last month.

McCarthy comes out against bipartisan deal on Jan. 6 commission

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will oppose a bipartisan deal announced last week that would form a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, his office announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: McCarthy's opposition to the deal, which was negotiated by the top Republican and Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, underscores the internal divisions that continue to plague the GOP in the wake of Jan. 6.

2 hours ago - World

Beijing's antitrust push poses a problem for Western regulators

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government's anti-monopoly machinery presents a major challenge to U.S. and European regulators, a new book argues.

Why it matters: China's huge markets are attracting investment from multinational corporations and shaping the behavior of its own globe-trotting companies — giving international heft to the country's idiosyncratic antitrust enforcement and putting it on a collision course with Western-style regulation.