Opioid Epidemic contribution by Johnson & Johnson?
Across the country, hundreds of communities and states have been suing pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Insys Therapies, for their role in the opioid epidemic. Many of these lawsuits focus on unscrupulous and misleading marketing methods used for the drugs, including bribing physicians to prescribe medicines and making false claims about the safety and efficacy of the drugs.
But many of these lawsuits have been settled for millions of dollars, amounts that experts think are too small, without going to trial. A new case against Johnson & Johnson in Oklahoma is the first of its kind to go to major trial. The trial is expected to have major impacts on dozens of current and future lawsuits looking to hold drug companies responsible for the opioid epidemic.
Why This Lawsuit Is Different
Lawsuits that go to trial allow lawyers, in this case the Oklahoma Attorney General, to discover important facts about how opioids are created, marketed and distributed. The discoveries made in this case could shed new light on the role drug manufacturers played in creating the opioid epidemic and better reveal how the epidemic began in the first place. Furthermore, this trial will be broadcast live online all summer, allowing millions of Americans to witness the truth and make judgments for themselves.
The case could also set an important precedent for other lawsuits. Depending on the judge’s opinion and if he awards large damages to plaintiffs, he could set a standard for how these lawsuits are determined in the future. Oklahoma is seeking out $17.5 billion in abatement over the next thirty years. If they receive half that amount, the case’s results could be staggering, making it easier to hold drug companies responsible for the epidemic and steeply raising the penalties against these companies. Harsh enough penalties could help change drug marketing and distribution practices in the future.
But the case isn’t perfect or guaranteed to be decided in Oklahoma’s favor. Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, makes up only a small portion of opioid drug manufacturers in the nation. It may be harder for attorneys to prove that the company should be penalized for the opioid epidemic. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson argue that, as such a “small” company, they cannot be held responsible for such a huge public health crisis. Instead, they blame the epidemic on illegal activities, such as fraud or stolen drugs.
However, the case could still have far-reaching effects, especially for companies like Purdue Pharma who are the largest manufacturers of prescription opioids and are currently involved in massive lawsuit in Ohio featuring more than 1,000 plaintiffs. The case has not yet reached a settlement or proceeded to trial.
What a Victory for Oklahoma Could Mean for Addiction Treatment
If Oklahoma wins millions or billions of dollars in damages, they can use the money to fund efforts to stop the epidemic within their state. Past settlements in other states have been used to fund expanded addiction treatment, including medication-assisted treatment, as well as efforts to prevent addiction in the first place.
Major damages are also likely to increase the size of settlements and decisions in other areas of the country, providing states with valuable funds to expand public and medical education, research into new drugs, treatment access, and more. These funds could provide a much needed boost in the fight against this major epidemic, which kills more than 40,000 Americans each year.
It could also provide much-needed support to addiction treatment centers. Many addiction treatment centers are seeing lower reimbursement for their care, putting financial strain on these vital services. Hundreds of treatment centers have been closed over the past few years as a result.
But comprehensive addiction treatment centers, which include psychotherapy, medication-assisted treatment, and other services, may be the only way to help people with substance use disorder achieve long-term sobriety. While medication-assisted treatment is becoming more widely available in jails, doctors’ offices, and other locations, it is not proven to be effective without additional support from psychotherapy and individual counseling.
At Harmony Place, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment for people suffering from opioid-related substance use disorder. From inpatient care to medication-assisted treatment, group therapy to cognitive behavioral therapy, we have the services needed to help combat the opioid epidemic one individual at a time.
At Harmony Place in Woodland Hills, California, we provide a relaxing, comfortable environment for addiction treatment and recovery with many addiction treatment program options. Contact us today at 1-(888)-789-4330 to learn more about our services and how you or your loved one can prepare for a successful rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addiction at our California treatment center to treat and maintain sobriety in all forms of drug addiction and those lives affected by the opioid epidemic.