Oklahoma opioid trial wraps: 10 takeaways

The closely watched trial in Oklahoma that accused Johnson & Johnson of fueling the opioid crisis wrapped up July 16. Below are 10 takeaways:

1. Johnson & Johnson was the only defendant in the lawsuit after Teva Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma reached settlements before trial.

2. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter alleged J&J and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals helped ignite the opioid crisis in the state with their aggressive marketing strategy.

3. The trial lasted seven weeks. State Judge Thad Balkman heard the case.

4. During closing arguments July 16, Mr. Hunter called the company the "kingpin" of the opioid crisis. 

5. Prosecutors want the judge to find J&J liable for creating a "public nuisance." They are asking him to force the drugmaker to pay $17.5 billion over 30 years to help mitigate the crisis in Oklahoma, according to NPR. 

6. Another prosecutor, Brad Beckworth, in closing arguments cited prescribing statistics in Cleveland County, where the trial took place. "What we do have in Cleveland County is 135 prescription opioids for every adult," Beckworth said, according to NPR. "Those didn't get here from drug cartels. They got here from one cartel: the pharmaceutical industry cartel."

7. Larry Ottaway, J&J's attorney, said the company's products were not widely prescribed in Oklahoma. He claimed J&J's two main products, including Duragesic, a fentanyl patch, and opioid-based medication Nucinta, were minimally used in the state. 

8. J&J also scoffed at the idea that physicians were persuaded  to prescribe opioids by the company's marketing.  

9. The trial was widely watched because of the potential for the decision to sway  remaining opioid lawsuits.. 

10. A ruling is expected in August.

Access more on the trial here

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