- On Monday, an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $US572 million for fuelling the opioid crisis in that state.
- The suit was one of thousands filed against drugmakers across the country, and the fine was much lower than experts estimated.
- The punishment will no doubt feel like a slap on the wrist for the company, since it only amounts to nearly 4% of their 2018 net profit.
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The $US572 million in damages that an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay on Monday for its role in the state’s opioid crisis will most likely feel like a slap on the wrist for the major conglomerate.
The fine amounts to just 3.7% of the company’s net profit for 2018, according to SEC filings.
In fact, the press around the fine seems to have had a positive effect on the company. After the fine was announced on Monday, J&J stock actually rose more than 5% in aftermarket trading.
Judge Thad Balkman of the Cleveland County District Court in Norman, Oklahoma, sided with the state’s attorney general, Mike Hunter, who argued that Johnson & Johnson’s marketing practices fuelled the opioid epidemic by flooding the market with painkillers.
The company said in a statement to Business Insider that it plans to appeal the judgement.
Hunter had wanted Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $US17 billion to help the state address the epidemic for the next 30 years, through addiction treatment and prevention programs.
The amount the company was actually fined will cover the state’s plan to fight the epidemic for one year.
Johnson & Johnson produces the painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta.
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