This week in Oklahoma a judge ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay $572 million to the state for it’s role in the opioid crisis. The judge had found that Johnson & Johnson and it’s subsidiaries where guilty in fueling the state’s opioid crisis. This case involved several other companies which settled with the state prior to these findings by the judge. This massive opioid ruling is one of the largest in the country.
The trial started on May 28 and the Oklahoma judge issued his ruling on Monday August 26. Prior to the 28th Purdue Pharma settled with the state for $270 million and Teva Pharmaceuticals settled for $85 million. In his case against Johnson & Johnson the Oklahoma Attorney General Oklahoma Attorney General said opioid overdoses killed 4,653 people in the state from 2007 to 2017. Oklahoma views this case as a roadmap for other states to sue the makers of opioids as they sued under the state’s public nuisance statute.
These cases typically are built around the fact that these companies put profits over safety in promoting their drugs and that because of the proliferation of these drugs the state has a huge burden in helping get thousands of people who had their life destroyed by addiction. In 2015 Kentucky brought a similar suit against Purdue Pharma, the makers of Oxycontin, which was settled out of court for $24 million.
Speaking of the Sackler’s, the family who owns Purdue, they are in talks to settle with multiple state’s which have brought lawsuits against the family independent of the company. Purdue Pharma is privately owned by the Sackler family and it is believed they made billions from Purdue’s marketing of Oxycontin. What has been released is that the Sacklers would sell, or give up, their ownership of Purdue and personally pay out $3 billion of their own money on top of an additional around $7 billion from Purdue Pharma. Apparently the bulk of the funds would come from Purdue becoming a public beneficiary trust which would mean all future profits would go to the states involved in the suit.
This is all huge news this week regarding the opioid crisis we have had in this nation. As I have shown in previous posts, it is clear to me that these companies where complicit in creating the epidemic through their marketing. We as humans sure do have some responsibility for our own actions but these companies preyed on the US population. They new our weakness, a quick fix for pain, and lied to us that they had the solution. They were not fully forthcoming with the real issue of how addictive these drugs are and they marketed them for types of pain they were not approved by the FDA to treat. You might say that these companies are doing a great thing, making “miracle” cures but they are also doing things like this.