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Landmark ruling against Johnson & Johnson in opioid trial

A judge in Oklahoma has ruled that Johnson & Johnson will have to pay the state $572 million for its role in fueling the opioid crisis.

The state of Oklahoma argued that Johnson & Johnson (and its pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen) created a “public nuisance” by deceptively advertising opioid painkillers to doctors. In defense, Johnson and Johnson said it’s not responsible for the crisis, and only produced less than 1% of opioids in the state. Johnson & Johnson said in a statement it would appeal the decision.

This is the first decision in a court case attempting to hold a pharmaceutical company accountable for the spread of the very addictive painkillers.

Oklahoma will use the settlement money to fund addiction treatment programs.

Oklahoma originally brought the lawsuit against two other pharmaceutical companies, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma, but both settled before the trial started.

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