Judge orders drugmaker to pay $572 million in opioid lawsuit


2019-08-27 15:29:26 MarketBeat


In this July 15, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter speaks during closing arguments in Oklahoma's ongoing opioid drug lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, in Norman, Okla. An Oklahoma judge is expected to deliver a judgment following a first-of-its-kind trial in which the state is trying to hold an opioid drugmaker responsible for the devastating consequences of addiction to the powerful painkillers. NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma judge on Monday found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state's opioid crisis and ordered the consumer products giant to pay $572 million, more than twice the amount another drug manufacturer agreed to pay in a settlement. Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman's ruling followed the first state opioid case to make it to trial and could help shape negotiations over roughly 1,500 similar lawsuits filed by state, local and tribal governments consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio. "The opioid crisis has ravaged the state of Oklahoma," Balkman said before announcing the judgment. "It must be abated immediately." An attorney for the companies said they plan to appeal the ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Before Oklahoma's trial began May 28, the state reached settlements with two other defendant groups — a $270 million deal with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma and an $85 million settlement with Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Oklahoma argued the companies and their subsidiaries created a public nuisance by launching an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that overstated how effective the drugs were for treating chronic pain and understated the risk of addiction. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says opioid overdoses killed 4,653 people in the state from 2007 to 2017. Hunter called Johnson & Johnson a "kingpin" company that was motivated by greed. He specifically pointed to two former Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries, Noramco and Tasmanian Alkaloids, which produced much of the raw opium used by other manufacturers to produce the drugs. On Monday, Hunter said the Oklahoma case could provide a "road map" for other states to follow in holding drugmakers responsible for the opioid crisis. "That's the message to other states: We did it in Oklahoma. You can do it elsewhere," Hunter said. "Johnson & Johnson will finally be held accountable for thousands of deaths and addictions caused by their activities." Among those seated in the courtroom on Monday were Craig and Gail Box, whose son Austin was a 22-year-old standout linebacker for the Oklahoma Sooners when he died of a prescription drug overdose in 2011. One of the attorneys for the state, Reggie Whitten, said he also lost a son to opioid abuse. "I feel like my boy is looking down," Whitten said after the judge's ruling, his voice cracking with emotion. Oklahoma pursued the case under the state's public nuisance statute and presented the judge with a plan to abate the crisis that would cost between $12.6 billion for 20 years and $17.5 billion over 30 years. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson have said that estimate is wildly inflated. The judge's award would cover the costs of one year of the state's abatement plan, funding things like opioid use prevention and addiction treatment. Attorneys for the company have maintained they were part of a lawful and heavily regulated industry subject to strict federal oversight, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, during every step of the supply chain. Lawyers for the company said the judgment was a misapplication of public nuisance law. Sabrina Strong, an attorney for Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries, said the companies have sympathy for those who suffer from substance abuse but called the judge's decision "flawed." "You can't sue your way out of the opioid abuse crisis," Strong said. "Litigation is not the answer." Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the cases consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio called the Oklahoma judgment "a milestone amid the mounting evidence against the opioid pharmaceutical industry." "While public nuisance laws differ in every state, this decision is a critical step forward for the more than 2,000 cities, counties, and towns we represent in the consolidation of federal opioid cases," they said in a statement. Also on Monday, the Kentucky Supreme Court declined to review an earlier ruling , making previously secret testimony from former Purdue Pharma President Rickard Sackler and other documents public. The court record was sealed in 2015 as part of a $24 million settlement between Purdue and Kentucky. The 17 million pages of documents were being shipped Monday from Frankfort to Pike County, where the case originated. The Pike County Circuit Court Clerk's office could not immediately say how and when they would be available. ___ Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy
在2019年7月15日的文件照片中,俄克拉荷马州司法部长麦克·亨特在俄克拉荷马州对强生公司( Johnson & Johnson )正在进行的阿片类药物药物诉讼的最后辩论中发表了讲话。俄克拉荷马州的一名法官预计将作出判决。此前,俄克拉荷马州进行了首次同类审判,试图让一家阿片类药物药物制造商对强效止痛药上瘾的破坏性后果负责。 Okla NORMAN 。(美联社)--俄克拉荷马州的一名法官周一发现强生及其子公司帮助加剧了该州的阿片类药物危机,并命令这家消费品巨头支付5.72亿美元,是另一家药品制造商同意支付的和解金额的两倍多。 克里夫兰县地方法官萨德·巴尔克曼的裁决是在第一个州阿片类药物类案件审理之后做出的,这可能有助于就州、地方和部落政府提出的大约1500起类似诉讼展开谈判,这些诉讼由俄亥俄州的一名联邦法官统一审理。 Balkman 在宣布判决之前说:“阿片类药物危机已经破坏了俄克拉荷马州。”“必须立即消除。” 两家公司的律师说,他们计划向俄克拉荷马州最高法院上诉。 在俄克拉何马州的审判于5月28日开始之前,该州与另外两个被告团体达成和解——一项与 OxyContin 制造商 Purdue Pharma 的2.7亿美元交易,另一项与以色列拥有的梯瓦制药工业有限公司(梯瓦(Teva) Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd .)的8500万美元和解。 俄克拉何马州辩称,两家公司及其子公司发起了一场咄咄逼人且具有误导性的营销活动,夸大了这些药物治疗慢性疼痛的有效性,并低估了上瘾的风险。俄克拉何马州司法部长迈克·亨特说,2007年至2017年,阿片类药物类药物过量导致该州4653人死亡。 亨特称强生公司是一个“王牌”公司,是出于贪婪的动机。他特别提到了强生公司的两家前子公司,诺姆科和塔斯马尼亚碱,它们生产了许多其他制造商用来生产这些药物的原始鸦片。 Hunter 周一表示,俄克拉荷马州的案件可能会为其他州提供一个“路线图”,让制药商为阿片类药物危机负责。 “这是对其他州的信息:我们在俄克拉何马州做了。你可以在其他地方做,”亨特说。“强生(Johnson & Johnson)将最终对他们的活动造成的数千人死亡和成瘾负责。” 周一坐在法庭上的人包括克雷格和盖尔·Box ,他的儿子奥斯丁在2011年因处方药过量用药而死时,是俄克拉何马索纳22岁的杰出支持者。 该州的一位律师 ReggieWhitten 说,他也因为阿片类药物类药物滥用而失去了一个儿子。 “我觉得我的孩子在看着他,”惠顿在法官判决后说,他的声音带着感情裂开。 俄克拉何马州根据该州的公共妨害法规对此案进行了调查,并向法官提交了一份计划,以减轻这场危机,这场危机将在20年内花费126亿美元到30年内花费175亿美元。强生公司的律师说,这一估计数字被夸大了。法官的裁决将支付一年的国家减少计划费用,资助阿片类药物使用预防和戒毒治疗。 该公司的律师坚持认为,在供应链的每一步,他们都是受到严格联邦监管的合法和严格监管的行业的一部分,包括美国缉毒署和食品药品监督管理局(Food and Drug Administration)。该公司的律师表示,判决是对公众妨害法律的不当运用。 强生及其子公司的律师萨布丽娜·斯特朗( Sabrina Strong )说,这些公司同情那些遭受药物滥用的人,但称法官的判决“有缺陷”。 “你不能从阿片类药物滥用危机中起诉你的方法,” Strong 说。诉讼不是答案。 在俄亥俄州一名联邦法官审理的案件中,原告的律师称俄克拉何马州的判决“是一个里程碑,因为越来越多的证据反对阿片类药物行业。” 他们在一份声明中说:“虽然各州的公共妨害法律各不相同,但对于我们所代表的2000多个城市、县和城镇而言,这一决定是一个关键的进步,因为它们整合了联邦阿片类药物类病例。” 同样在周一,肯塔基最高法院也拒绝审查之前的一项裁决,这使得之前普渡制药公司总裁 RickardSackler 和其他文件公开的秘密证词。作为普渡和肯塔基州2400万美元和解协议的一部分,法庭记录在2015年被封存。 星期一,1700万页的文件从法兰克福运到了案件发端的派克县。派克县巡回法院办事员办公室不能立即说出如何和何时可以得到他们。 ____ 关注 Sean Murphy ,网址是 www.twitter.com / apsemansury