Daily Management Review

Johnson & Johnson gets $572 mln fine in USA over opioid crisis


The company was convicted of the spread of the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma.

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The Oklahoma court found that Johnson & Johnson was involved in fueling an opioid crisis in the state, fined the company $ 572 million "to address the devastating effects of the epidemic on the state and its residents."

This case became the second in opioids. The court imposed half the penalty. At the same time, according to MarketWatch, a total of about 1,500 similar lawsuits have been filed in the US opioid case from state authorities, local governments and even representatives of local Indian tribes. More than 40 US states, according to the Washington Post, have lined up to file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. The current decision will have a major impact on further decisions in such cases.

At the same time, according to the Guardian newspaper, the fine imposed on Johnson & Johnson "is a blow to many manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy chains facing more than 2 thousand other lawsuits across the country, as it will undermine their attempts to blame the epidemic on doctors who prescribed opioids, or those who used them. "

Before the trial began in Oklahoma on May 28, the state entered into agreements with two other accused companies: $ 270 million with the manufacturer OxyContin Purdue Pharma and $ 85 million with the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical.

Oklahoma prosecutors insisted that companies and subsidiaries used an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that exaggerated the effectiveness of drugs for treating chronic pain and downplayed the risk of addiction. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said overdose of opioids killed 4,653 people in the state from 2007 to 2017.

Hunter called Johnson & Johnson a "key" company whose motivation was exclusively greed. He highlighted two former subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson, Noramco and Tasmanian Alkaloids, which produced most of the raw opium used by other manufacturers to make drugs. 

The prosecutor emphasized that the case examined in Oklahoma could become a roadmap for other states that would help bring drug manufacturers to justice for the opioid crisis.

According to media reports, Johnson & Johnson intends to challenge the decision in the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

source: marketwatch.com