An Oklahoma judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million to the state for pushing doctors to prescribe opioid medication while downplaying the risk that patients could become addicted to the drugs.
The state claimed that Johnson & Johnson's deceptive marketing practices contributed to 6,000 deaths and helped fuel an opioid epidemic that has cost the state as much as $17.5 billion.
"The source of this crisis is the flood of prescription opioids that has inundated Oklahoma for the past two decades," attorneys for the state wrote in its more than 700-page court filing. "The harm it has wrought, and the threat it continues to pose to the health, safety and welfare of the State, make it the worst nuisance Oklahoma has ever known."
The state says it will use the money to fund addiction treatment and prevention programs.
Oklahoma also sued Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceutical for their role in the opioid epidemic. Both companies reached settlements with the Oklahoma attorney general's office before the trial against Johnson & Johnson began.
Johnson & Johnson says they disagree with the verdict and will file an appeal.
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