An Oklahoma judge on Monday found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state's opioid crisis and ordered the consumer products giant to pay $572 million, more than twice the amount another drug manufacturer agreed to pay in a settlement.
Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman's ruling followed the first state opioid case to make it to trial and could help shape negotiations over roughly 1,500 similar lawsuits filed by state, local and tribal governments consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.
An attorney for the companies said they plan to appeal the ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Before Oklahoma's trial began May 28, the state reached settlements with two other defendant groups - a $270 million deal with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma and an $85 million settlement with Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
With files from the Associated Press
Brian Mann, reporter covering opioid litigation for NPR and the Adirondack Bureau chief for North Country Public Radio, which is the NPR member for the Adirondack North Country region of northern New York; he tweets @BrianMannADK
Rick Chavez, M.D., former clinical professor of Family Medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine who now consults with the Drug Enforcement Agency on opioid related issues