Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $572 Million For Fueling Oklahoma Opioid Crisis

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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An Oklahoma judge ruled Monday that Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million to the state of Oklahoma for the company’s part in fueling the opioid crisis.

District Judge Thad Balkman called the opioid crisis an “imminent danger and menace,” ruling against Johnson & Johnson in the first trial in the United States against the company, according to CNBC.  The trial began May 28, and Johnson & Johnson was the only remaining defendant.

“The state meant its burden that the defendants Janssen and Johnson & Johnson’s misleading marketing and promotion of opioids created a nuisance as defined by (the law), including a finding that those actions compromised the health and safety of thousands of Oklahomans,” Balkman said, according to CNBC.

The drugmaker plans to appeal the decision. (RELATED: Oklahoma Begins First Major Opioid Trial Against Johnson & Johnson)

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said in May that Johnson & Johnson’s marketing campaigns downplayed the negative effects of opioids and overly highlighted their positive effects.

Hunter also said that Purdue Pharma LP and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd of Jerusalem are responsible for the same charges. However, both of these companies have settled with the state of Oklahoma.

Teva announced Sunday that they settled with the state of Oklahoma for $85 million, an amount that will be used for litigation costs and “to abate the opioid crisis in Oklahoma,” according to the press release. (RELATED: Move Over Purdue Pharma, Lawsuit Targets Famed Baby Powder Maker As Opioid ‘Kingpin’)

Purdue Pharma also settled for $270 million in March. Neither Teva nor Purdue Pharma admitted to any wrongdoing.

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