A judge in the US state of Oklahoma has imposed a $ 572 million (about Rs 4,100 crore) fine on American health care company Johnson & Johnson in the opioid crisis case involving drug use. The judge said in his judgment that the company deliberately ignored the threat of opioids and persuaded doctors to prescribe narcotic analgesics for its own benefit. The judge, however, ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay significantly less than the amount sought by the state government for the treatment of opioid victims. The state government had demanded $ 17 billion (about Rs 1.20 lakh crore).
Thad Balkman, judge of Cleveland County’s district court in Oklahoma, made serious remarks in his ruling, saying Johnson & Johnson violated state law. The company’s inaccurate, misleading and dangerous marketing quickly led to drug addiction and overdose cases led to death. State Chief Attorney Brad Beckworth said, “We have proved that Johnson & Johnson is the root cause of this opioid crisis.” It earned billions of dollars over the course of 20 years. ‘
The company will appeal against the decision
On the verdict, Sabrina Strong, a Johnson & Johnson lawyer, said, “We have a strong basis to appeal and we will challenge it with full vigor.” While the company’s executive vice president, Michael Ullman, said, “The opioid crisis was not caused by Johnson in Oklahoma.We have found that the opioid crisis is a complex public health issue. We have deep sympathy with everyone affected by this. ‘