The first of 1000’s of civil trials against opioid manufacturers, distributors and sellers starts today in Oklahoma as the state takes on Johnson & Johnson to pay for the cost of the opioid crisis.
The opioid crisis ground zero
Oklahoma has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic – there were 18M opioid prescriptions written between 2015 & 2018 in a state with a population of 3.9M. In the last 15 years, OD deaths increased by 91%. The state wants big pharma, not taxpayers, to cover for the cost of dealing with the crisis.
“In 88, sold more powder than Johnson & Johnson” – The Notorious BIG
Other companies named in the Oklahoma lawsuit, like Purdue and Teva, have recently decided to settle outside the court (and pay $270M & $85M respectively) but Johnson & Johnson said it ain’t going down without a fight and is looking to battle it out in court.
(By the way, it was reported last week that Purdue, the maker of Oxycontin, infiltrated WHO via front organizations and manipulated opioid policies to boost international sales. Just regular drug dealing empire shit.)
Don’t let J&J’s family-friendly image fool you – the company produces Fentanyl patches and is accused of using high-profile doctors to oversell the benefits and downplay the risks of its opioid products to vulnerable target demos like vets and children. No wonder Oklahoma’s lawyers have called J&J, the largest drugmaker in the US, “the kingpin behind public-health emergency”.
Oh, did we mention that J&J was recently ordered to pay $4.7 billion for selling cancer-causing baby powders for over 40 years? That’s a run El Chapo could only dream about. Kingpin status indeed.
Nearly 1,900 similar cases are lined up nationwide
The Oklahoma case will set a precedent to nearly 2,000 similar cases against big pharmas across the country. The lawsuit, based on public nuisance law, doesn’t seek compensation for the damages that’s already been made, instead, it wants J&J to pay for the costs of addressing the “nuisance” it created going forward. Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter estimates the payout could go up to billions of dollars in the state alone.