Opioid crisis: Johnson & Johnson hit by landmark ruling

Opioid disaster: Johnson & Johnson hit by landmark ruling

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America is the largest client of opioids, adopted Canada and Germany.

Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson should pay $572m (£469m) for its half in fuelling the opioid dependancy disaster in Oklahoma, a US choose has dominated

The corporate mentioned instantly after the judgement that it will enchantment.

The case was the primary to go to trial out of 1000’s of lawsuits filed towards opioid makers and distributors.

Earlier this yr, Oklahoma settled with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma for $270m and Teva Pharmaceutical for $85m, leaving J&J because the lone defendant.

Decide Thad Balkman mentioned prosecutors had demonstrated that J&J contributed to a “public nuisance” in its misleading promotion of extremely addictive prescription painkillers.

“These actions compromised the well being and security of 1000’s of Oklahomans,” he mentioned in his ruling. The fee can be used to deal with opioid addicts, he mentioned.

Intently watched

The end result of the case is being carefully watched by plaintiffs in about 2,000 opioid lawsuits resulting from go to trial in Ohio in October until the events can attain a settlement.

Opioids have been concerned in nearly 400,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2017, in accordance with the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Since 2000, some 6,000 folks in Oklahoma have died from opioid overdoses, in accordance with the state’s legal professionals.

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Media captionOn America’s path of destruction

Throughout Oklahoma’s seven-week non-jury trial, legal professionals for the state argued that J&J carried out a years-long advertising marketing campaign that minimised the addictive painkillers’ dangers and promoted their advantages.

The state’s legal professionals had known as J&J an opioid “kingpin” and argued that its advertising efforts created a public nuisance as docs over-prescribed the medication, resulting in a surge in overdose deaths in Oklahoma.

J&J vigorously denied wrongdoing, arguing that its advertising claims had scientific assist and that its painkillers, Duragesic and Nucynta, made up a tiny fraction of opioids prescribed in Oklahoma.

The state’s case rested on a “radical” interpretation of the state’s public nuisance legislation, J&J mentioned.

The corporate mentioned in a press release that since 2008, its painkillers accounted for lower than 1% of the US market, together with generics.

“The choice on this case is flawed. The State did not current proof that the corporate’s merchandise or actions brought about a public nuisance in Oklahoma.

“This judgment is a misapplication of public nuisance legislation that has already been rejected by judges in different states,” it added.

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