Johnson and Johnson Facing Trial For Its Role In The Oklahoma Opioid Crisis

Published on: 28 May, 2019

Johnson and Johnson are facing trial in Oklahoma State, which alleges that the drug manufacturer “brainwashed” families in its opioid marketing scheme, downplaying addiction risk and making the opioids too easily accessible.

Johnson and Johnson produce a Fentanyl patch which can be prescribed for severe pain. While Fentanyl can be used to change how the body responds to pain, it can also be abused for recreational purposes.

Oklahoma is accusing Johnson and Johnson of allowing its Fentanyl patch to become too widespread and fueling the opioid crisis. It alleges that in addition to drugmaker Purdue, the creator of oxycodone-based painkiller Oxycontin, Johnson and Johnson used misleading marketing to push doctors to prescribe its products without fulling understanding the addiction risk.

The state alleges that Johnson and Johnson created a public nuisance which will take USD 12.7 Billion to USD 17.5 Billion to solve.

In the trial, Johnson and Johnson have responded that the information provided to doctors was in line with what the Food and Drug Administration published at the time. It emphasized that in 2009, when Johnson and Johnson subsidiary Janssen marketed its opioids to doctors as rarely addictive the FDA also agreed that opioids “rarely caused addiction.”

This trial in Oklahoma marks the first of nearly 2000 trials against pharmaceutical companies selling opioids. The result of this trial is significant due to its potential to set a precedent in whether a pharmaceutical company can be held responsible for addictions resulting from its sale of opioids. Broadly, these trials base in the allegation that pharmaceutical companies have been pushing a dependence on opioids and furthering an expensive addiction crisis.

Mike Hunter, the state attorney general, said that Johnson and Johnson created “the worst manmade public health crisis in the history of our state and country.”


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Michelle He



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