An Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson guilty in fueling the state's opioid crises and ordered the corporation to pay $572 million in a landmark ruling with vast implications. The ruling by Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman in Norman in favor of the state against Johnson & Johnson is one of the biggest monetary awards in U.S. history.
In making his ruling, Judge Balkman said Johnson & Johnson bears responsibility for helping to fuel the state's opioid epidemic by aggressively marketing painkillers. Judge Balkman took about a month to make this judgement after a seven-week trial.
"We showed how the company repeatedly ignored warnings by the federal governments and its own scientific advisers about the dangers of its drugs and the risks of marketing its products the way it did," said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter during a press conference on Monday. "We have proven that Johnson & Johnson have built its billion dollar brand out of greed and on the backs of pain and suffering of innocent people."
A brief statement by Johnson & Johnson said, "Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the opioid judgment in Oklahoma."