The Billion-Dollar Opioid Crisis: Johnson & Johnson on Trial in Oklahoma

The Billion-Dollar Opioid Crisis: Johnson & Johnson on Trial in Oklahoma

Over 100 people die each day in the U.S from opioid overdoses. Big pharma is in large part responsible, the state says.

The opioid crisis is a big problem in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day 130 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose.

Back in 2017, 70, 200 people died from an overdose in the U.S, and a whopping 68% of these occurred using a prescription or illegal opioid. The tragedy needs to stop. And in the state of Oklahoma, the people are rising to make this happen.

The State of Oklahoma is taking on Johnson & Johnson by accusing the mega-company of deceptively marketing opioid-based painkillers to patients. They did this while downplaying how addictive they can be, the state says. In this way, Johnson & Johnson fuelled the opioid crisis.

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Oklahoma is arguing that Johnson & Johnson has created a public nuisance, and it’s one that will cost between $12.7bn and $17.5bn to fix over the next 20 to 30 years.

Johnson & Johnson has faced legal battles before. One of the most notable was in 2018 when a jury decided against the company and awarded a group of women who blamed their ovarian cancer on the asbestos present in the company’s baby powder and other talc products, $4.69 billion.  

What else does the company sell, besides baby shampoo? Johnson & Johnson produces a fentanyl patch that can be prescribed for severe pain.

For more on the opioid crisis, check out CNN’s fact sheet.

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