Stories

Johnson & Johnson's legal bills keep mounting

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill with Benjamin Franklin having two black eyes and a busted lip.
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."