Okla. AG: J&J Made 'Blood Money' From Opioid Addiction

Okla. AG: J&J Made 'Blood Money' From Opioid Addiction

The $US572 million in damages that an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay on Monday for its role in the state's opioid crisis will most likely feel like a slap on the wrist for the major conglomerate.

FORTIER: She said the company would appeal and vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Before the case began the state of Oklahoma had already reached a $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and an $85 million settlement with Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

His precedent-setting ruling was being closely watched as 2,000 other pending suits await to be heard before a federal judge in OH in October. During that same period, more than 4,000 Oklahomans died from opioid abuse and thousands were left hooked on pills, according to the state.

Jeffrey Simon, a lawyer for Simon Greenstone Panatier P.C. who is litigating Texas' first opioid trial in the fall 2020, said Judge Balkman's ruling validates claims against brand-name drug manufacturers that their misleading marketing led to increased opioid prescription, consumption, addiction and overdose deaths.

Johnson & Johnson reportedly supplied 60 percent of the opiate ingredients that drug companies use for addictive painkillers like oxycodone, the New York Times reports.

The success of the Oklahoma case could provide hope for other states.

The judge found Johnson & Johnson guilty of minimizing safety issues, taking data out of context, omitting information, and overstating the drugs' safety and efficacy.

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Officials of J&J and its Janssen unit, which was also a defendant in the Oklahoma case, said they have "strong grounds" for an appeal of Balkman's ruling.

"Nobody disputes that. But you can't sue your way out of the opioid abuse crisis", Strong said in a press conference.

Representatives for Johnson & Johnson said its products can not be directly linked to any deaths because they had been approved by federal regulators. "While public nuisance laws differ in every state, this decision is a critical step forward", they said in a statement.

Balkman based his decision on Oklahoma's unusual public nuisance law, which does not require interference with property.

FORTIER: The judge said that the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson ran a false and unsafe sales campaign that caused addiction and death in the state. Comprised of 2,000 separate lawsuits, the OH suit also charges the defendants with causing the United States opioid crisis.

"Nuisance theory is used to say that something is enough of a public health danger". "We fear that other industries, including Oklahoma's oil and gas producers, may now be vulnerable to public nuisance law's applicability to them with regard to issues like climate change as the state looks for additional funding sources to manage public crises", Joyce said in a statement.

Abbe Gluck, the facility director of the Yale Law School's Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, said on Tuesday's MetroNews "Talkline" cases are shifting away from pharmacies and "pill mills" and are being directed at manufacturers and global drug corporations.

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