Pharmaceuticals behemoth Johnson & Johnson is facing a multi-billion dollar lawsuit in the US state of Oklahoma with prosecutors making the case that the company has for years marketed opioid-based painkillers and downplayed the risk of addiction.
In opening arguments on Tuesday, the state accused Johnson & Johnson of deceptively marketing highly addictive opioids for years by overstating their effectiveness and underplaying the risk of addiction, Johnson & Johnson maintains it is part of a heavily regulated industry with strict federal oversight and attention should focus on the doctors who prescribe the drug.
At least 130 people die from opioids overdose every day in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017 alone, 70,200 people died under similar circumstances
Johnson & Johnson manufactures fentanyl, an opioid-based analgesic drug marketed for its pain relief effect that is widely used as a recreational drug. The effects on public health are projected to cost the state of Oklahoma $12.7 billion over the next 20 to 30 years.