As the state case against an opioid drugmaker rages on, an Oklahoma judge will come to a decision on the affair on Monday. The lawsuit emerged in lieu of increased opioid addiction in Oklahoma, for which said manufacturer is facing charges. On Monday at 3 p.m., Thad Balkman, Cleveland’s County District Judge is to announce his verdict on the suit in open court.
This particular case has been the flagship of many similar accusations following the rise of opioid addiction across the States. Various counties, states, and Indian Tribes joined together in legal action against a plethora of pharmaceutical companies.
Mike Hunter, Oklahoma’s Attorney General, slammed Johnson & Johnson, the final defendant in this lawsuit. He dubbed it a “kingpin” company, blaming it for the bulk of the suffering opioid addicts endure today.
Before this particular case, settlement deals with several pharma companies occurred. Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, came to a $270 million settlement. Meanwhile, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. carved out a deal of $85 million.
How the Ruling Might Swing
Richard Ausness, University of Kentucky’s law professor, predicts that the judge’s Monday ruling will be in favor of Oklahoma. However, he remains skeptical that the fine for damages will be terribly high. The aforementioned Purdue was the main culprit in Ausness’s eyes, but he believes the company got off relatively easy.
Ausness specializes in litigation regarding opioids. He claims that the company will inevitably resort to settling so that it could drag on the entire process for as long as possible.
Attorneys for Oklahoma designed a plan which should alleviate the impact of this addiction epidemic. The costs of its execution fall in the ballpark of $12.6 billion in duration of a 20-year period and $17.5 billion within a 30-year time window.
Johnson & Johnson countered these estimations by stating that these figures are inflated. It adds that the state is trying to hold them accountable for damages without producing any evidence to that claim.
John Sparks, Johnson & Johnson’s local council, highlighted that J&J’s legal team had refuted every claim the state made against it. He defended Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of J&J, adding that Janssen had facilitated appropriate pain treatment for Oklahomans in accordance to the risks inherent with opioid use.