Oklahoma Gets Justice In War On Opioid Crisis With Win Against Johnson & Johnson
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen some type of coverage on how the opioid crisis is destroying the nation at a rapid rate.
What used to be a stereotype for white wealthy suburban moms has now found its way into both pop culture and rap music. Once it hit those two it influences, fans who listen to the music and engage in pop culture are also affected. Now, overdoses are at a record high and the drug Narcan is finding its way into more public places in the event someone overdoses in public.
With this epidemic spreading rapidly, more states are starting to take action to hold the makers and manufacturers of these drugs accountable.
Amid this larger epidemic, Oklahoma has taken Johnson & Johnson to court over its role in the problem. According to CNN, the state alleged that the maker downplayed the serious effects and destruction of using prescription pain killers while overselling the benefits to its consumers. The state sought a $17 Billion dollar verdict from Johnson & Johnson, citing that it would need the money so they could pay for rehabilitation services for their community including addiction treatment, counseling, and other similar treatments.
In the end, Judge Balkman explained that the company was built with an image of “family-friendly products”, which made consumers trust the company. In turn, Johnson & Johnson used its power and familiarity to promote dangerous products. Ultimately, the judge argued, this caused increased rates of addiction, overdose deaths, and caused destruction within the state.
Balkman issued a verdict awarding the state $572 million to pay for a year worth of its planned process in an effort to undo the damage. Though this amount isn’t exactly the $17 billion they wanted, this is the first judgment of its kind with over 2,000 more cases headed to court across the nation.
This is a big win for consumers that will most definitely lead to similar conclusions in future cases.