August 26, 2019A Oklahoma judge has condemned the multinational Johnson & Johnson to pay $ 572 million in damages to the state for the company's role in the opiate crisis. Judge Thad Balkman of the Cleveland County District Court in Norman, Oklahoma, ruled that J&J with "his marketing practices" fueled the opiate crisis that reached epidemic levels in the US.

The damage requested to J&J by the Oklahoma attorney general, Mike Hunter, was 17 billion and the milder than expected fine has given wings to the company's stocks in the Stock Exchange after hours. Johnson & Johnson announced that it will appeal appeal. The case carried out by the Oklahoma attorney general was the first to come to trial among the hundreds of appeals filed by local public authorities against pharmaceutical companies and painkiller distributors for the opiate crisis.

The pharmaceutical companies Purdue Pharma and Teva had bargained with the state of Oklahoma worth $ 270 million last March, and $ 85 million last May. In Ohio there are over 2000 pending opiate cases that according to US authorities caused 400,000 deaths from overdoses from 1999 to 2017. Only in Oklahoma, according to state lawyers, deaths from overdoses from sedatives and painkillers were about 6000.