Los Angeles - Oklahoma on Tuesday became the first US state to take a major pharmaceutical company to trial over an epidemic of deaths from prescription opioid overdoses.
Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which produced an opioid patch and pill, created a public health crisis that has killed 4 653 Oklahoma residents from 2007 to 2017, according to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.
During opening statements on Tuesday Hunter said Johnson & Johnson disregarded the dangers related to opioid abuse in marketing their products and created "the worst man-made public health crisis in the history of our country and the state - the prescription opioid epidemic."
He said the company "embarked on a cynical, deceitful, multi-billion-dollar brainwashing campaign to establish opioid analgesics as the magic drug."
The case is the first of nearly 2 000 cases pending against pharmaceutical companies across the United States.