Oklahoma v. Johnson & Johnson
Oklahoma v. Johnson & Johnson (Supreme Court of Oklahoma, Nov. 9, 2021): The Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned a $465 million judgment which determined that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had contributed to the opioid epidemic through its deceptive marketing practices. In a 5-1 decision, the court held that in 2019 a district judge wrongly interpreted—and over-extended— Oklahoma’s public nuisance law, which does not apply to the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of prescription opioids. The court held that the company’s marketing and sales practices did not create a public nuisance: “J&J had no control of its products through the multiple levels of distribution, including after it sold the opioids to distributors and wholesalers, which were then disbursed to pharmacies, hospitals, and physicians’ offices, and then prescribed by doctors to patients.” J&J further had no control over how patients used the products. Read the full decision here.
View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – December 14, 2021.
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