Lawsuits cause J&J to open its checkbook

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Johnson & Johnson is set to write out some checks: the Wall Street Journal reports that the company has agreed to pay at least $2.5 billion to settle lawsuits related to the Articular Surface Replacement hips made by subsidiary DePuy. Last week's rumors put the payout at around $4 billion.

The WSJ says the $2.5 billion would cover around 8,000 patients and would amount to around $250,000 in surgery costs, in addition to setting up a fund for what the Journal says qualify as extraordinary injuries, such as strokes, and heart attacks.

Bloomberg reported Monday that J&J is also shelling out $11 million in a lawsuit that says the company's seizure medication Topamax caused birth defects. Bloomberg notes that 133 similar cases are pending in Philadelphia. These lawsuits allege that the drugmaker failed to alert women to potential risks.

The FDA issued a notice in 2011 saying that it received data showing a correlation between the drug and children born with cleft palates.

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