Oklahoma prosecutor calls drugmaker opioid ‘kingpin’
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has described consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson as the “kingpin” company that helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis during closing arguments in the state’s case against the drugmaker.
Closing arguments were delivered Monday before Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman, who is expected to issue his ruling at a later date.
Oklahoma’s is the first state case to proceed to trial and could help shape negotiations in roughly 1,500 similar lawsuits filed by state and local governments that have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.
Oklahoma claims the company based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, aggressively marketed opioids in the state in a way that overstated their effectiveness to treat chronic pain and understated the addiction risks.
Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson say the company acted responsibly.