Opioid addiction: Johnson & Johnson sentenced to pay 572 million dollars for causing the epidemic in the USA

Johnson & Johnson will have to pay $ 572 million in compensation for being responsible for an opioid addiction epidemic in the US.

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La opioid addiction? In the United States it has become a real epidemic and now one of the main culprits has a name: Johnson & Johnson, for a change, guilty of having implemented a "cunning, cynical and deceptive plan" for the mass market of opioid painkillers, giving rise to the biggest drug crisis in US history. This is why the Oklahoma Attorney General sentenced the company to pay compensation of 572 million dollars.

Johnson & Johnson, in fact, already convicted several times for its carcinogenic talcum powder, according to Thad Balkman, a Cleveland County district judge, allegedly marketed opioids to doctors while downplaying the risks of addictive painkillers since the 90s.

Opioid addiction kills tens of thousands of people every year in the New Continent, but by now “New” bacterial and viral infections linked to the abuse of painkillers.

According to a report by the National Safety Council, the risk of dying from accidental opioid overdose ranks fifth in the ranking of preventable deaths in the US, plus for the first time it exceeded that of dying in a car accident: 1 in 96 vs 1. out of 103 (data referring to 2017).

Over the past two decades, the use of opioids, including painkillers, heroin, and synthetic drugs like fentanyl, has skyrocketed in the United States: an estimated 2017 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 47. including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly produced fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. In the same year, about 1,7 million people in the United States suffered from ailments related to prescribed opioid painkillers and 652 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive). In addition, the relationship with different types of infections is increasingly evident, both because bacteria and viruses can enter the bloodstream through incorrect use of the needle, and because opioids would interfere with the immune system.

The Johnson & Johnson case

Cleveland District Judge Thad Balkman's verdict marks the end of the first state trial attempting to prove a pharmaceutical company responsible for one of the worst health epidemics in history. In his ruling, Balkman claimed that the opiate crisis has "devastated" the state of Oklahoma.

The defendants "engaged in a false and misleading marketing of both their drugs and opioids in general, and the law makes it clear that such conduct is more than sufficient to serve as a necessary act or omission to establish the first element of the public nuisance law Oklahoma, ”Balkman wrote in his ruling.

Oklahoma is among the dozen American states that have filed a lawsuit against opioid producers and this is the first state case to be sentenced. Another federal trial is slated for this fall for a class action of sorts involving cities, counties, communities and tribal lands accusing opioid producers of causing the outbreak.

Oklahoma had previously reached a plea deal with two other opiate manufacturers: a $ 270 million deal with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, and a $ 85 million deal with Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of the world's leading drug suppliers. generic.

Johnson & Johnson's appeal 

Following the ruling, Johnson & Johnson announced that it intends to appeal the “flawed” judgment.

"Janssen did not cause the Oklahoma opioid crisis, and neither the facts nor the law support that result," said Michael Ullmann, executive vice president and general counsel of Johnson & Johnson.

“We recognize that the opiate crisis is a tremendously complex public health problem and we have deep compassion for all concerned. We are working with partners to find ways to help those in need. And he concludes: this sentence is an erroneous application of the law of public disturbance which has already been rejected by the judges of other states ”.

Read also:

  • Carcinogenic baby powder: Johnson & Johnson forced to pay new mega compensation
  • Johnson & Johnson: license withdrawn in india for carcinogenic talc

Germana Carillo

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