Oklahoma City, Okla., Aug 27, 2019 / 15:00 pm
An Oklahoma judge ruled Monday that the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson pay $572 million for "public nuisance" in driving the state's opioid epidemic by pushing prescription painkillers.
In an Aug. 26 decision, Judge Thad Balkman of the Oklahoma District Court for Cleveland County found that Johnson & Johnson "engaged in a false, misleading and deceptive marketing campaign" with Oklahoma doctors and citizens to sell painkillers, ultimately driving the state's current opioid abuse epidemic.
The state's case against the drug company was, in essence, a "public nuisance" case, Judge Balkman said in his decision, finding that the company was guilty of "unlawful acts which 'annoys, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, or safety of others'."
Sales representatives from the company repeatedly claimed that the drugs were "safe and effective for the long-term treatment of chronic, non-malignant pain," the decision noted, while relying upon research paid for by the company and paid speakers, and actively presenting data out of context or omitting key information.