Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay Huge Settlement in Oklahoma
As sanction for their part in the over-prescription of opioid based pain medication over the last twenty years or so, the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $572 million in a landmark trial.
This is the result of the first case brought against Johnson & Johnson following legal action by the state of Oklahoma. It is likely that up to 2,000 similar lawsuits from other parties will follow.
Judge Finds Johnson & Johnson at Fault for Encouraging the Prescription of opioids
It was the finding of Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland County District Court that Johnson & Johnson had, with intention, played down the dangers of opioid addiction, and had oversold the benefits of using them.
Oklahoma was asking for $17 billion from Johnson & Johnson. This was their estimate for the provision of addiction aid services over the next twenty years for people who need urgent help with opioid dependency.
In the Judge’s ruling, Balkman wrote that Johnson & Johnson had promulgated “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” that had “caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, and overdose deaths” and babies born who were exposed to opioids.
Johnson & Johnson State That They Intend to Appeal the Judge’s Verdict
A spokesman for the legal team of Johnson & Johnson stated that “We have many strong grounds for appeal, and we intend to pursue those vigorously.”
The monetary figure arrived at by Balkman is sufficient, in his opinion, to provide for a year’s worth of services for Oklahoma, as required to combat the most urgent needs of citizens fighting against opioid dependency.
“We’ve shown that J & J was at the root cause of this opioid crisis,” said the lead attorney for Oklahoma, Brad Beckworth. “It made billions of dollars from it over a 20-year period. They’ve always denied responsibility and yet at the same time they say they want to make a difference in solving this problem. So do the right thing: Come in here, pay the judgment.”
Johnson & Johnson now faces another 2,000 cases brought about by counties, cities and other jurisdictions.
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