Oklahoma District Judge Thad Balkman issued a landmark decision in the state’s opioid epidemic trial, ordering pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its role in the opioid crisis, CNN reported.
In his decision handed down Aug. 26, the judge said Johnson & Johnson “engaged in false and misleading marketing of both their drugs and opioids generally,” as reported by CNN.
This is the first company to be found liable in a state’s opioid epidemic trial. Two other pharma companies, Purdue and Teva, both settled out of court ahead of the Oklahoma trial. Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, settled for $270 million and Teva, a generic drugmaker, settled for $85 million.
Oklahoma is just one of dozens of states suing opioid drugmakers. Last week, Endo Pharmaceuticals settled with the state of Ohio, paying $10 million to exit two bellwether cases that were headed for trial in October.
Johnson & Johnson has vowed to appeal the Aug. 26 verdict, saying in a written statement that “neither the facts nor the law support this outcome.”
Johnson & Johnson’s market share of opioids is relatively small in Oklahoma, as compared to companies like Purdue, which settled for far less than the judge’s verdict of $572 million against Johnson & Johnson.
Still, $572 million is a drop in the bucket for a state that has been ravaged by the opioid crisis. It is estimated the ruling would only fund Oklahoma’s opioid recovery plan for one year. It is also far below the state’s request of $17.5 billion.
Not only are state and local governments coming after these Big Pharma companies for their role in the opioid crisis, individuals affected by the epidemic are also filing lawsuits.
People who became addicted to opioids and those who lost loved ones to addiction and overdose are suing companies like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson for their pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one were prescribed an opioid medication to treat pain for a prolonged period of time, you may qualify for an Opioid Injury or Death Lawsuit. Call the experienced lawyers at Schmidt National Law Group today at 800-631-5656 to see if have an opioid injury or death claim.