Month: June 2019

Johnson & Johnson faces multibillion opioids lawsuit that could upend big pharma

Oklahoma is suing Johnson & Johnson in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit to hold the drug giant responsible for its opioid addiction epidemic.

Day after day, the memos flashing across screens in an Oklahoma courtroom have jarred with the family-friendly public image of Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant best known for baby powder and Band-Aid.

In one missive, a sales representative dismissed a doctor’s fears that patients might become addicted to the company’s opioid painkillers by telling him those who didn’t die probably wouldn’t get hooked. Another proposes targeting sales of the powerfully addictive drugs at those most at risk: men under 40.

As the state of Oklahoma’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson has unfolded over the past month, the company has struggled to explain marketing strategies its accusers say dangerously misrepresented the risk of opioid addiction to doctors, manipulated medical research, and helped drive an epidemic that has claimed 400,000 lives over the past two decades.

Groundwork Is Laid for Opioids Settlement That Would Touch Every Corner of U.S.

Every city, town and county in the United States could receive a payout in a settlement with the largest makers, distributors and retailers of prescription opioids, if a judge approves an innovative proposal made Friday in an Ohio federal court by lawyers for hundreds of local governments.

The plan, which legal experts describe as “novel” and “unorthodox,” could potentially expand the number of municipalities and counties eligible for compensation in the federal litigation from 1,650 to about 24,500 and open the way for a comprehensive national opioid settlement with the pharmaceutical industry.

“We have an epidemic caused by pills that have wheels, and different areas of the country get targeted at different points in time,” said Joe Rice, one of the lead lawyers, explaining a major obstacle to settlement in the rapidly accumulating cases. “So if you solve the problem in New York City, it doesn’t get addressed in Albany. And everyone recognizes this is a national issue.”

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