A judge in Oklahoma on Monday ruled that Johnson & Johnson will pay $572 million for its role in promulgating “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” that had “caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths” and babies born exposed to opioids.
The amount fell short of the $17 billion judgement that Oklahoma had sought to pay for addiction treatment and other services it said it would need over the next 20 years to repair the damage done by the opioid epidemic. Instead, the $572 million judgement could pay for a year’s worth of the services.
Johnson & Johnson had a large presence in Oklahoma. From 2000 to 2011, members of their sales staff made approximately 150,000 visits to Oklahoma doctors, focusing in particular on high-volume prescribers.
Lawyers representing more than 2,000 cities, counties and other jurisdictions with opioid cases pending in federal court were cheered by Judge Balkman’s ruling. In a statement, they said: “While public nuisance laws differ in every state, this decision is a critical step forward.”
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