Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $527 Million in Opioid Legal Battle

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Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $527 Million in Opioid Legal Battle
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Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $527 Million in Opioid Legal Battle
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Multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson lost a major legal battle on Monday. The company, found guilty of perpetuating the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma, was ordered to pay $527 million. Although, the state of Oklahoma claims the damage will cost $17 billion and decades to resolve.

Many see the lawsuit as a simple slap on the wrist for the company whose “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” led to “exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths,” according to Judge Thad Balkman. Accusations of Johnson & Johnson’s dishonesty stem from documents that show that the company was already aware of the dangerous and addictive nature of opioids.

Critics allege that Johnson & Johnson intentionally conducted misleading public relations campaigns. The corporation has taken a devastating hit to their public image, considering the company has branded itself as safe, trustworthy and family-centric. During the trial, the state of Oklahoma claimed 6,000 of their residents died as a direct result of the company’s actions since the year 2000.

The trial also highlighted how the corporation made billions in revenue while allegedly attempting to convince medical professionals that their patients were not addicted to the opioids they were being prescribed. In response to the accusations, executive vice president of Johnson & Johnson Michael Ullmann stated, “We recognize the opioid crisis is a tremendously complex public health issue.” However, he clarified that he believes his company “did not cause the opioid crisis in Oklahoma, and neither the facts nor the law support this outcome.”

The trial finds itself in the midst of 2,000 similar legal battles with dozens of other opiate companies. While these verdicts have not yet been reached, its predicted that the outcome of the Johnson & Johnson case will directly affect the other legal battles.

In the meantime, the lead plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Farrell finds justice in what’s already been achieved. In a statement released on Monday, Farrell commented, “Today’s ruling serves as another milestone amid the mounting evidence against the opioid pharmaceutical industry who we allege started, fueled and conspired to create the largest public health crisis of our time.”

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