Johnson & Johnson stands trial for the opioid crisis

“OVERSUPPLY AND people will die.” That evocative line was at the heart of the opening argument laid out in a courtroom in Oklahoma on May 28th. Mike Hunter, the state’s attorney-general, accused Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a pharmaceutical giant, of misleading doctors and patients about the dangers of opioids, prescription medicines used to treat severe pain. After a heart-wrenching description of addicted patients and the plight of babies with neonatal opioid syndrome, Mr Hunter asked, “How did this happen? I have a short, one-word answer: greed.”

The opioid crisis claimed nearly 400,000 lives between 1999 to 2017, and rages on today. Americans want someone to blame and to pay for cleaning up the mess, so politicians are taking to the courts. A federal trial in Ohio will aggregate claims of nearly 2,000 cities, counties, Native American tribes and hospitals, against a number of opioid-makers and distributors, but will not start until October.

That is why all eyes are on Oklahoma this week. The J&J case is heavy with symbolism. It is the first of many against opioid manufacturers to reach trial. It is conducted in the same courtroom where Big Tobacco was humbled in 1998, which led to cigarette-makers agreeing to pay states $206bn over 25 years to settle lawsuits seeking to recover smoking-related health-care...



via Business Feeds

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