By: Shannon Persad
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Johnson & Johnson Set to Pay Oklahoma $465 Million in Lawsuit Regarding Opioid Epidemic
During this summer in late August, the headlines featured NJ-Based company “Johnson & Johnson” in a lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma, as they accuse the company of fueling the opioid crisis in their home state.
Now, it has come out that the judge overseeing the case will “shave off” $107 million from the original $572 in the initial settlement. The lawsuit also accuses Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson of elevating the opioid crisis. This isn’t the first time for Janssen, as New Jersey’s Attorney General sued the company back in over accusations of fueling the opioid epidemic in NJ.
The reason? A calculation mistake by the judge who stated he would set aside 107,000 for programs, but accidentally added $107 million.
Why Are States Going After Multiple Drug Manufacturers?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 130 people every day from an opioid overdose. It has been theorized that the rise in prescription pain medication containing opioids over the last two decades has caused the opioid epidemic.
“In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.3,4 Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.1 That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).”
After two decades and a rising epidemic, states started to take action against what they believe were the reason for the opioid crisis.
More companies are set to face settlements in the upcoming year. A recent report also noted that drug companies may pay up to $50 billion for the opioid crisis.
In the initial lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson by Oklahoma, they proposed $17 billion over a few years. In hindsight, the $465 million is a small payment to pay compared to what could have been.
If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction, seek professional help.