Johnson & Johnson's Request to Toss Out Opioid Crisis Lawsuit Dismissed by Oklahoma Judge

July 17, 2019 - /PressAdvantage/ - Johnson & Johnson’s motion to toss out a state lawsuit over their alleged role in the opioid crisis was dismissed by an Oklahoma judge, who said that there is sufficient evidence to support the case. Oklahoma has spent the past month laying out evidence alleging that the pharmaceutical company played a leading role in creating the epidemic, which is now being considered the worst drug crisis in US history.

Judge Thad Balkman dismissed the motion after a recent hearing for the multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general. Johnson & Johnson must continue defending itself from accusations claiming that it drove the opioid epidemic by using irresponsible marketing methods to downplay the addictive qualities of their opioid products.

The current opioid epidemic is claiming over 130 lives every day. The Oklahoma judge ruled that the state has presented enough evidence for the trial to continue.

Johnson & Johnson’s marketing strategies allegedly misrepresented the risk of opioid addiction to doctors. The lawsuit also claims that the company manipulated medical research and drove prescribing of highs strength narcotics to patients who didn’t need them.

The Oklahoma ruling now strengthens hundreds of other lawsuits in the pipeline against leading opioid makers, drug distributors and pharmacy chains by counties, cities, and states across the US, affected by the epidemic. The opioid crisis has claimed more than 400,000 lives over the past two decades.

Earlier, Johnson & Johnson argued that Oklahoma’s attempt to sue it under a public nuisance statute was wrong because the law was intended to address problems such as property disputes. Stephen Brody, the company’s lawyer, said that if the state were to prevail, then public nuisance laws could be used to make McDonald’s pay for the obesity crisis, gun manufacturers for shootings, and the oil industry for climate change.

The lawyer also said Johnson & Johnson’s promotion of opioids was protected by the first amendment and the supreme court’s landmark Citizens United ruling, which prevents the government from restricting corporate spending on political advertising.

Brody added that the state failed to prove Johnson & Johnson’s opioid subsidiary, Janssen, played any role in causing the epidemic because its drugs were only a fraction of the market.

Meanwhile, the state’s lawyer, Brad Beckworth, was visibly angry as he repeatedly accused the company of lying. Click the link to see Buffalo's top rehab placement programs.

“That may be the most recalcitrant, strident and offensive argument I’ve ever heard. And that’s saying something because I and my firm have prosecuted the tobacco industry to the tune of $17.2bn. We represented the state of Florida against British Petroleum for the worst environmental disaster this country has ever known to the tune of $3bn. I have never seen conduct as reprehensible and as offensive as I have seen at the hands of Johnson & Johnson,” Beckworth told the court.

The Oklahoma lawyer then derided the free speech argument, saying: “No man or woman has ever laid down their life for this country so that a pharmaceutical company could come out and lie or hook kids on opioids.”

Beckworth also challenged the company’s claim that it was selling its drugs within the guidelines set by the federal regulator, the US Food and Drug Administration. He said the FDA had sent it an order to desist from marketing one of its opioids for all types of chronic pain when it had only been approved for a much smaller group of patients.

He challenged Johnson & Johnson’s claim it was selling its drugs within the guidelines set by the federal regulator, the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA, he said, had sent it an order to desist from marketing one of its opioids for all types of chronic pain when it had only been approved for a much smaller group of patients. “This company is perpetuating the opioid crisis as we sit here today,” Beckworth added.

Beckworth was astonished when Johnson & Johnson challenged accusations by saying ice cream sales and crime went up in the summer and “that does not mean that ice cream causes homicides”. The Oklahoma lawyer called the comparison “offensive”.

He then said that Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to dismiss the case was mostly a PR stunt because the company’s share price dropped significantly after the state laid out damning evidence about its alleged role in the epidemic. “It’s a PR stunt. That’s all it is. It was fear these TV cameras were going to show the public the truth about Johnson & Johnson.”

If someone in the family is struggling with opioid or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against drug abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.

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