Court Overturns $465-Million Case

Court Overturns $465-Million Case

( – It’s relatively well known that physicians have over-prescribed highly-addictive opioids to Americans in recent years. Seeing millions die from overdosing on the dangerous drugs every year, many citizens blamed opioid maker Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) advertising for the increase in related deaths. However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court just ruled that argument is not going to hold its own in court.

On Tuesday, November 9, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court threw out a 2019 ruling by a lower court that fined J&J $465 million for fueling the opioid epidemic through its advertising campaign. The 2019 ruling said J&J made a “public nuisance” through its portrayal of the pain management pills and forced the manufacturer to pay the nearly half a billion-dollar fine to the state to help fix the epidemic.

In its ruling, the Oklahoma Supreme Court emphasized that the “public nuisance claim” was only meant to be used “to address discrete, localized problems, not policy problems,” thus it’s not applicable to this case. PBS NewsHour shared more about the ruling:

This ruling was the second in recent weeks to declare the drug manufacturer free of responsibility in this manner when it comes to the opioid crisis. This impacts a myriad of other public policy battles, as it could’ve fueled a slippery slope such as whether or not gun or bullet manufacturers are responsible for the death of someone shot by their product. So, for now, manufacturers have a precedent set from this specific type of lawsuit.

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