Johnson & Johnson Held Responsible for Opioids

Emma McNeeley, Features Editor

A case was brought up by the state of Oklahoma claiming that the company Johnson & Johnson was “downplaying” the addictive dangers of opioids. During the trial, which began on May 28, the state also argued that the marketing campaign claimed the medicine was “a low risk of abuse and a low danger.” 

After the trial, Judge Thad Balkman ordered the company to pay $572 million for its role in the opioid crisis. In his ruling he stated that the company bears responsibility for continuing to market the painkillers and ignoring warnings from its own scientific advisers about the dangers of the drug. The company plans on filing for an appeal and claims it did not contribute to the opioid crisis.

This was the first time a case has been brought up against a drugmaker and the ruling could give lawyers strategies for further cases. Cases similar to these have also been spreading to other states.There are over 1,500 opioid lawsuits filed by the state of Ohio against pharmaceutical businesses with the trials set for October.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 130 Americans die from opioid overdoses every day. The numbers for deaths involving opioids are six times higher than in 1999. As these numbers increase so do the chances of court cases spreading throughout the country.