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Johnson & Johnson settles with Ohio counties ahead of opioid trial

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The Johnson & Johnson campus on August 28, 2019. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday that it has reached a $20.4 million settlement with 2 Ohio counties ahead of a massive opioid trial, under what the Washington Post describes as a "tentative" deal.

The big picture: These Ohio counties — Cuyahoga and Summit County — were set to be one of the first cases to go to trial from lawsuits brought by over 2,500 counties, cities, Native American tribes and others against nearly 2 dozen pharmacies, drug manufacturers, and distributors for their role in the U.S. opioid epidemic, the Post reports.

Details: Johnson & Johnson said it has agreed to pay the Ohio counties a combined $10 million, in addition to reimbursing the counties $5 million for legal and trial expenses and directing $5.4 million in charitable contributions to non-profits "in connection with opioid-related programs" in both counties.

What's next: If this settlement is finalized, there would be 6 defendants scheduled to stand trial in October for their alleged role in the opioids epidemic, the Post reports.

Go deeper: Podcast: Johnson & Johnson's landmark opioids verdict