An historic trial starts today in Oklahoma. It will be the first major test in the nation of whether a state can make a pharmaceutical company pay for the opioid epidemic.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has has already won major settlements from two drug companies: $270 million from Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and another $85 million from Teva Pharmaceutical biggest makers of generic drugs. (The companies settled without admitting any wrongdoing.)
Hunter now sets his sights on Johnson & Johnson. He claims the company acts like a drug “kingpin” and created a public nuisance that cost the state billions of dollars and destroyed thousands of lives.
Johnson & Johnson and its parent company deny the allegations. This is the first major trial of nearly 2,000 cases around the country in which states, cities and hard-hit municipalities seek to hold opioid makers accountable for an epidemic that’s left hundreds of thousands of Americans deadand strapped resources in every state.
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