[NEWS] Oklahoma judge finds J&J liable in opioid epidemic, orders $572 million damages – Loganspace AI

[NEWS] Oklahoma judge finds J&J liable in opioid epidemic, orders $572 million damages – Loganspace AI

(Reuters) – An Oklahoma ranking on Monday found Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) accountable for fueling an opioid epidemic in the state by deceptively advertising and marketing painkillers, and ordered the drugmaker to pay damages of $572 million.

FILE PHOTO: The Johnson & Johnson logo is displayed on a display cover cover on the bottom of the Fresh York Stock Replace (NYSE) in Fresh York, U.S., Would possibly perchance well well 29, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Checklist

The damages awarded by Purchase Thad Balkman of Cleveland County District Court docket in Norman, Oklahoma, following a seven-week, non-jury trial came in what had been a $17 billion lawsuit alleging that J&J’s advertising and marketing practices helped gasoline the opioid epidemic by flooding the market with painkillers.

J&J mentioned it could perchance perchance perchance attraction the choice.

J&J shares rose 5% in prolonged buying and selling following the selection. Shares of completely different drugmakers, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA) and Endo Global Plc (ENDP.O) additionally rose after-hours.

The case brought by Oklahoma Licensed professional Frequent Mike Hunter used to be the foremost to head to trial out of thousands of lawsuits filed by state and native governments in opposition to opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Oklahoma sued J&J to support it take care of the epidemic for the following 30 years thru dependancy treatment and prevention purposes.

“The opioid crisis is an drawing near near hazard and threat to Oklahomans,” Balkman mentioned as he delivered his choice from the bench.

The trial came after Oklahoma resolved claims in opposition to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP in March for $270 million and in opposition to Teva in Would possibly perchance well well for $85 million, leaving J&J as the lone defendant.

The litigation has been closely watched by plaintiffs in about 2,000 opioid lawsuits pending sooner than a federal ranking in Ohio who has been pushing for a settlement earlier than an October trial.

Some plaintiffs’ legal professionals comprise compared the opioid cases to litigation by states in opposition to the tobacco alternate that led to a $246 billion settlement in 1998.

Opioids were all for nearly 400,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2017, in preserving with the U.S. Centers for Disease Administration and Prevention. Since 2000, some 6,000 Oklahomans comprise died from opioid overdoses, in preserving with the state’s legal professionals.

Through the trial, legal professionals for Oklahoma argued that J&J implemented a years-long advertising and marketing campaign that minimized the painkillers’ dependancy dangers and promoted their advantages.

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

J&J has denied wrongdoing, announcing its advertising and marketing claims had scientific enhance and that its painkillers, Duragesic and Nucynta, accounted for a limited half of opioids prescribed in Oklahoma.

The company additionally mentioned in a assertion that since 2008, its painkillers accounted for much less than 1 percent of the U.S. market, including generics.

Attorneys for Fresh Jersey-based entirely J&J comprise mentioned the case rested on a “radical” interpretation of the state’s public nuisance guidelines.

J&J on Monday, sooner than the selection, called the state’s strive and employ public nuisance guidelines to unravel a advanced social topic “mistaken and legally unsustainable.”

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“No longer as soon as did the state establish a single Oklahoma doctor who used to be misled by a single Janssen assertion, nor did it display cover that Janssen misleadingly marketed opioids or caused any be anxious in Oklahoma,” John Sparks, Oklahoma counsel for Johnson & Johnson, mentioned in a assertion.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals is the healthcare conglomerate’s foremost prescription medication unit.

J&J mentioned it has no longer space aside a litigation reserve to pay skill damages, and that its coverage is to entire so as soon as a loss is “probable and could maybe even be moderately estimated.”

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Additional reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot

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