A judge in Oklahoma ruled Monday Johnson & Johnson, the bagged corporate giants, demanding that in the first lawsuit against an opioid manufacturer it cost $ 572 million for the destruction it inflicted to pay for prescription painkillers.
Johnson & Johnson, which had contracted with poppy seed companies in Tasmania, supplied 60 percent of opiate ingredients used by drug manufacturers for opioids such as oxycodone which the state had aggressively argued marketed opioids for Doctors and patients as safe and effective. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, produced her own opioids ̵
"The opioid crisis is an imminent threat and threat to Oklahomans," said Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland District Court when he announced his decision.
The groundbreaking verdict was a resounding victory for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. The closely watched case could be a severe harbinger for around two dozen opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers, who face more than 2,000 similar lawsuits nationwide. Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest healthcare companies in the world, said it would appeal.
"We have shown that J & J is the cause of this opioid crisis," said
Brad Beckworth, the prosecutor. "It has made billions of dollars over a 20-year period. They have always rejected the responsibility and at the same time said that they want to make a difference in solving this problem. So do the right thing: come in, pay the verdict. "
The judge's ruling came after two other pharmaceutical companies manufacturing opioids Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceutical had come to terms with Oklahoma for $ 270 million this year. $ 85 million each. The companies did not admit that they were wrong. As a result, Oklahoma was forced to blame for its opioid crisis on one single defendant in particular.
The verdict against Johnson & Johnson is a heavy blow to a health care company that has built its own reputation as a family-friendly manufacturer of baby products and consumer products. In December, a panel of judges in St. Louis noted that Johnson & Johnson, which reported sales of $ 81.6 billion last year, should pay $ 4.7 billion, as its talc-based baby powder is used by some consumers Caused cancer.
Janssen, one of the largest manufacturers of branded drugs in the country, achieved sales of US $ 23.3 billion in 2018 in the US.
Oklahoma, a largely rural state, suffers greatly from opioids. According to Hunter, 18 million opioid prescriptions were prescribed between 2015 and 2018 in a state of 3.9 million people. According to his office, approximately 6,000 Oklahomans have died from opioid overdoses since 2000, and thousands more suffer from addiction problems.