The judgment of Cleveland District Judge Thad Balkman marks the end of the first state trial in which an attempt was made to hold a pharmaceutical company accountable for one of the worst health epidemics in history. In his decision, Balkman said the opioid crisis "devastated" the state of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is one of dozens of states suing opioid drug companies, and this case is the first state case to be brought to justice. A federal process has been scheduled for this fall, bringing together nearly 2,000 cases involving cities, counties, communities, and tribal areas into a single process.
Oklahoma fights with Johnson & Johnson
Prior to the ruling on Monday, Oklahoma and Johnson & Johnson filed their final pleas in Balkman's Lier this month, essentially a final pitch after seven weeks of trial.
In its final filing, the state of Oklahoma pleaded with the judge to set a record $ 17.2 billion fine against Johnson & Johnson for flooding the state with opioids. It was said that the drug company had triggered a crisis that killed more than 6,000 Oklahomans, destroyed families and devastated communities.
The state had submitted a plan to reduce US $ 17.5 billion. However, in its records, the state reduced the amount to $ 17.17 billion. "The source of this crisis is the flood of prescription opioids that has flooded Oklahoma over the last two decades," the prosecutors wrote more than 700 in their press release. page judicial submission. "The damage it has done and the threat it continues to pose to the health, safety and well-being of the state make it the worst annoyance that Oklahoma has ever known." public nuisance. "
Johnson & Johnson argued in his file that the state's case was flimsy, saying that the public charges of abhorrence are based on" radical theories that have arisen from more than a century of Oklahoma's jurisdiction. "
The state was undeniably unable to prove its case," Johnson said & Johnson in his nearly 200-page submission.
The drug company has blown up the state's witnesses, arguing that the state offers no explanation as to how its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals contributed to the plan. Opioid Crisis.
"In summary, the state could not prove that Janssen is misleading for opioids, that one of Janssen's promotions in Oklahoma causes harm (let alone a crisis of opioid abuse), or that the proposed funding is prudent and justified in response to the current crisis "Johnson & Johnson said.
Johnson & Johnson claimed that it had done nothing wrong and that the state had made "shots on straying advertising claims that date back to three decades" to create a wild publicity theory of harassment.
America's Opioid Epidemic
How the Oklahoma trial went through the summer, including the American opioid epidemic.
After completing the process, Oklahoma's eyes turn to other states seeking justice for the opioid crises that have afflicted their communities.