A STORM'S A BREWIN'
Big news out of the land of mobile homes and broken dreams (Oklahoma) yesterday as a state judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $572M in fines for its part in causing the opioid epidemic in the Sooner state.
The case was the first of its kind to go to trial and will have a huge impact on drug companies, retail pharmacies and drug distributors going forward as over 2k lawsuits have been brought by state and local municipalities.
J&J is appealing the initial ruling.
The charges initially brought against J&J, Purdue Pharma, and Teva Pharmaceutical claimed that the companies deceptively marketed and sold its drugs, creating a “public nuisance” (which seems like a really nice way to say "death vortex"). After a seven-week trial, Judge Thad Balkman agreed.
Initially, Attorney General Mike Hunter sought as much as $17B in damages. Apparently, markets thought the big pharma company got off easy, as the stock rallied following the news. OJ ain't got sh*t on J&J.
But the company certainly didn't make out as well as its co-conspirators …
So far, the cancer-causing baby-powder maker has been the only company willing to actually take on Johnny Law in the courts.
OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $270M and Teva settled for $85M earlier this year with Oklahoma. Purdue’s owners, the Sackler family, have indicated that the money will be used to fund a national opioid addiction center.
Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $572 Million in Oklahoma Opioid Case [WSJ]
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