Oklahoma Judge Finds Johnson & Johnson Guilty of Fueling Opioid Crisis

Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by an Oklahoma judge to pay $572 million in a landmark ruling over the company’s role in the state’s opioid crisis. According to CBS News, it’s one of the biggest monetary awards in U.S. history.

The judge said that the company bears responsibility for the state’s opioid epidemic by aggressively marketing painkiller medications. Oklahoma’s Attorney General said that Johnson & Johnson repeatedly ignored warnings by the federal government and its scientific advisers about the dangers of its opioid-based medications as well as the risks of aggressively marketing the drugs.

Oklahoma requested billions of dollars as compensation for damages caused by the deaths of more than 4,000 state residents to opioid medications and abuse over the past 20 years. This case is the first of its kind against a drug maker to go to trial, and CBS News reports that it could set a precedent for cases nationwide.

The 2017 filing included not just Johnson & Johnson, but also Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA. Those companies settled out of court for a combined $355 million without admitting wrongdoing. Only Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals went to trial.

The opioid crisis is the one of the biggest public health problems the U.S. has ever faced. Opioid medications put patients at extreme risk of addiction and death. If you or someone you love was harmed by opioids, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact the drug injury lawyers at Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough today.