Johnson & Johnson Appeals Judge’s Ruling in Oklahoma Opioid Lawsuit

By | December 12, 2019

Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson have appealed an Oklahoma judge’s order for the company to pay $465 million to address the state’s opioid crisis.

The company argues in an appeal filed on Dec. 9 that the judge misapplied the state’s public nuisance laws in reaching his decision. The company also maintains that the award should be reduced by $355 million to offset pretrial settlements between the state and two other drugmakers.

“Without explanation, the court found Janssen liable for the entirety of a complex crisis implicating a multitude of criminal, governmental and medical actors,” attorneys wrote in a summary of the case. Janssen is the company’s pharmaceutical subsidiary.

The state of Oklahoma also plans to appeal the judge’s order, arguing that the $465 million it was awarded would only cover one year of its cleanup plan. The state has until Monday to file its appeal.

During the trial, state experts testified that it would cost about $17.5 billion over 30 years to abate the state’s opioid crisis. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson maintain that figure is wildly inflated.

At the trial, the judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the opioid crisis by using an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that understated the addiction risk of opioids and overstated their effectiveness in treating chronic pain.

Among the brands of opioid drugs the company produced and marketed were Duragesic, Ultram, Ultracet, Nucynta and Tylox. The company also owned two subsidiaries that produced much of the raw opium that other manufacturers used to make opioids.

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