Oklahoma Goes to Court with Johnson & Johnson over Opioid Epidemic

The well-known medical device and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson is facing a major lawsuit over opioids from the state of Oklahoma.

According to CNBC, lawyers gave their opening statements on May 28. This is just one of more than 1,850 similar lawsuits that have been introduced across the country, all of which are from state and local governments that believe Johnson & Johnson is responsible for opioid abuse epidemic. While the case in Oklahoma proceeds, the aforementioned 1,850 cases will be consolidated and presented before a federal judge in Ohio. The trial is expected to begin in October.

Oklahoma officials who are suing Johnson & Johnson feel that the company oversold the benefits of opioids while downplaying the harm that they can ultimately cause. “We believe our evidence is persuasive and compelling with regard to their legal responsibility for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of addictions in the state,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter claimed told BBC. “This is the worst man-made public health crisis in our state’s history. To put it bluntly, this crisis is devastating Oklahoma.” The state is currently alleging that the company created an oversupply of painkillers and a public nuisance that will cost billions.

According to a statement released on May 26, Johnson & Johnson does not believe that it is at fault, since the medication is FDA-approved. “We acted responsibly in providing FDA-approved pain medications, and we are ready for trial,” the company announced.

This isn’t the first time that smaller organizations, even those who aren’t necessarily aligned with the cannabis industry, have accused a large pharmaceutical company of wrongdoing. However this case is a major step forward for those who oppose the opioid industry and want to see an end to the hold it has over modern medicine.

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