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Oklahoma Judge Finds Johnson & Johnson Liable In Opioid Epidemic Case

Johnson & Johnson held responsible in the role of opioid epidemic An Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson responsible for helping create the opioid epidemic. Judge Thad Balkman took...

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Johnson & Johnson held responsible in the role of opioid epidemic

An Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson responsible for helping create the opioid epidemic. Judge Thad Balkman took the company to the task ask he handed down his ruling, saying Johnson & Johnson downplayed the risk of addiction when it began mass-marketing opioid painkillers.

Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572 million in damages to the state of Oklahoma. The judgment is meant to cover the expenses racked up by law enforcement, health care facilities, and other public entities in Oklahoma that have been affected by the opioid epidemic.

“We’ve shown that J & J was at the root cause of this opioid crisis,” said Brad Beckworth, an attorney for the State of Oklahoma. “It made billions of dollars from it over a 20-year period. They’ve always denied responsibility and yet at the same time they say they want to make a difference in solving this problem. So do the right thing: Come in here, pay the judgment.”

There are more than 2,000 opioid-related lawsuits pending around the United States, mostly against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid painkillers. In the early 2000s, when prescription painkillers like OxyContin came on the market, companies like Johnson & Johnson marketed them as having a low risk of abuse and addiction.

So far, in 2019, more people have died from opioid overdoses than have been killed by guns.

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