Thursday, May 30th 2019
’The worst man-made public health crisis in American history’: Landmark opioid trial begins with claims pharmaceutical companies were ’in a race’ with each other in the 1990s to produce the highly addictive drugs and lied to the public about the risks
• The trial against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals began on Tuesday in Oklahoma
• Several other opioid manufacturers including Purdue Pharma have already settled with the state
• Oklahoma is suing the companies, claiming it knew it was doing people harm when they made and marketed the drugs
• The companies say they are not to blame and that it is the fault of doctors who over-prescribe opioids
• More than 2,000 lawsuits have been filed against the companies across the US
• Most have been consolidated into one case which is now playing out
• The trial will hear testimony from experts in the industry and employees from some of the companies
• Dr Julio Rojas, an addiction expert was the first state’s witness
The first trial against pharmaceutical companies and their role in the nation’s opioid crisis began in Oklahoma on Tuesday with prosecutors blaming the corporate machines for creating ’the worst man-made public health crisis’ in American history.
The case is against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, previously settled with the state for $270million to avoid going to trial.
In his opening arguments, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said the company embarked on ’a cynical, deceitful multimillion-dollar brainwashing campaign’ to sell opioids as a ”magic drug.”
’It’s time to hold them responsible for their actions,’ he said, adding that it was the ’worst man-made public health crisis in American history.’
Among the first arguments made was that for every adult in Oklahoma, there were 135 pills for every adult in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.
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