WASHINGTON D.C. (WEHT) – An Oklahoma judge ruled drug maker Johnson & Johnson is partly responsible for the opioid crisis.
The judge ordered the company to pay more than $500 million in damages for recklessly marketing highly addictive painkillers.
The ruling sets the stage for a federal court battle this fall in Ohio, where nearly 2,000 local and state governments are demanding drug makers pay up.
George Washington University legal expert Peter Meyer said the ruling may cause drug companies to have second thoughts about continuing a court battle.
He estimates the price tag could be in the billions.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) applauded the ruling but wants to make sure the public benefits from the money.
“We need to make sure that any settlement funds are used to address the addiction crisis in a meaningful and comprehensive way,” Sen. Brown said.
Lawyers for Johnson & Johnson promise to appeal.
The Ohio federal case kicks off in October.
(This story was originally published on August 27, 2019)