Johnson & Johnson fined US$ 572 million in relation to US opioid crisis

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An Oklahoma judge on Monday found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis and ordered the consumer products giant to pay $572 million to clean up the problem.

Johnson & Johnson, which contracted with poppy growers in Tasmania, supplied 60 percent of the opiate ingredients that drug companies used for opioids like oxycodone, the state had argued, and aggressively marketed opioids to doctors and patients as safe and effective. A Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, made its own opioids — a pill whose rights it sold in 2015, and a fentanyl patch that it still produces.

“The opioid crisis is an imminent danger and menace to Oklahomans,” Judge Thad Balkman, of Cleveland County District Court, said in delivering his decision.

The landmark ruling was a resounding victory for Oklahoma’s attorney general, Mike Hunter. The closely watched case could be a dire warning for some two dozen opioid makers, distributors and retailers that face more than 2,000 similar lawsuits around the country. Johnson & Johnson, one the world’s biggest health care companies, said it would appeal.

France 24 / New York Times 

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