J and J called kingpin of Oklahoma opioid epidemic. Will a judge agree.

Called a kingpin and accused of launching a multibillion brainwashing campaign to sell its opioid drugs, Johnson and Johnson has run the gantlet in its court battle with the state of Oklahoma. But name-calling aside, should J and J be held responsible for the states opioid crisis involving a swath of drugmakers? Thats now up to a judge to decide. Prosecutors and the company presented closing arguments Monday in the first-ever trial in which a drugmaker has faced direct charges of causing and inflaming a statewide opioid epidemic. Oklahoma has already bagged two settlements with Purdue Pharma and Teva for a combined $355 million, but J&J’s verdict could inform the chances of 1,600 consolidated lawsuits against opioid makers in multi-district litigation working its way through federal court in Cleveland. In the state’s closing argument, attorney Brad Beckworth said J&J oversold the health benefits of its opioid products despite knowing their risk of addiction. That marketing push contributed to Oklahoma’s flood of opioid deaths in recent years, Beckworth said. “They didn’t get here from a Mexican cartel,” Beckworth said of opioids in the state. “They got here from the pharmaceutical cartel, and the kingpin of them all is Johnson & Johnson.”

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PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

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