Drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has to pay a fine of more than half a billion dollars to the US state of Oklahoma. According to a court in Oklahoma, the company contributed to the opiate crisis in the state.
Johnson & Johnson manufactures, among other things, heavy pain killers that are very addictive. According to the state, marketing has deliberately trivialized the addictive effects of his painkillers in marketing and emphasized the positive effect of opiates.
According to the state, Johnson & Johnson’s policy led to rising healthcare and police costs and an increase in the number of overdose deaths. In Oklahoma, around 6,000 people have died of painkillers overdose since 2000. That would be hundreds of thousands across the US.
17 billion initially demanded
The judge agreed with the prosecutor that the company contributed to the massive addiction to painkillers and awarded damages of $ 572 million. The prosecutor had actually bet $ 17 billion, an amount that should go to addiction care and prevention programs in the next 30 years. The court found, however, not convincingly explained how that amount was built up and calculated.
The Johnson & Johnson share went up by 5 percent on Wall Street.
There are an estimated 1,500 similar lawsuits against pharmaceuticals throughout the United States. This is the first time that a decision has been made. Prosecutors in Oklahoma had previously settled with two other pharmacists. At that time, it involved amounts of 270 and 85 million dollars.
Johnson & Johnson has announced that they will appeal.
Peretz M. is an accomplished economist and financial journalist with a deep understanding of the global economy and financial markets. He is a regular contributor to EconomicInform, where he provides expert analysis and commentary on current economic trends and events. With a strong educational background in economics, Peretz has a talent for breaking down complex economic concepts for a general audience and is able to provide insightful perspectives on a wide range of economic issues.