Oklahoma's Landmark Opioid Case Is Over

Monday, July 15th 2019, 8:01 pm
By: News On 6

Closing arguments in the state of Oklahoma’s opioid case against drug giant Johnson & Johnson are over.

“The kingpin of it all is Johnson & Johnson. They created it, they supplied it, they marketed it,” Brad Beckworth, attorney for the state of Oklahoma said. “They took well-meaning Oklahomans, and they paid them to come into doctor offices with bad information to target doctors. They paid them to push pills. That’s what drug dealers to. That’s exactly how it works.”

Judge Thad Balkman will decide if Johnson & Johnson is responsible for flooding the market with opioids and if they should pay to abate the problem. He has said it will take him about a month to release his findings.

The state of Oklahoma argued that it would take up to 30 years to fix the problems that opioids have caused. The plan proposed would cost $17.5 Billion.

Reggie Whitten, an attorney for the state of Oklahoma in this case, lost a son to an opioid addiction.  Whitten was given the final words at today’s trial. 

“On behalf of all those who’ve lost their lives, who suffer from this now, we respectfully ask this court to abate this nuisance, and you’re the only one who has the power to do that,” Whitten said to the judge.

John Sparks, Oklahoma counsel for Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson gave the following statement:

“Throughout trial, our team repeatedly laid waste to the State’s case which it built on misstatements and distortions. The facts are that Janssen appropriately provided essential pain treatment options to Oklahomans while balancing the inherent risks associated with these medicines. The evidence presented by the State does not support its sweeping allegations. Instead, they unfairly and improperly continue to pursue their unsustainable case, with broad ramifications for industry, by asking the court to legislate and arbitrate this incredibly complex public health problem. Janssen and Johnson & Johnson will continue to work towards meaningful solutions, outside of the courtroom. We respectfully await the judge’s decision.” 

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