Oklahoma guns for $17B settlement in J&J opioid litigation

Aug. 2, 2019

Oklahoma’s attorney general has made a final attempt to hold Johnson & Johnson’s feet to the fire for its role in the opioid epidemic.

According to Reuters, the state is attempting to make the company pay $17 billion for what it describes as “egregious” marketing practices. In particular, the state’s lawyers argued that J&J was at the “root of the crisis” by marketing its opioid products as “go-to” treatments for a range of common ailments — from sprained ankles to headaches.

J&J’s lawyers have countered that its marketed was rooted in scientific research and that the company’s opioid products represented a small fraction of the narcotics sold in the state.

Both arguments were presented at the end of a seven-week trial that is being watched closely by litigators involved in the nearly 2,000 other opioid-related lawsuits pending around the country. The judge in this case is expected to make a final ruling next month.

Two other companies have already settled opioid-related lawsuits in the state: Purdue Pharma for $270 million and Teva for $85 million.

Read the Reuters report.