In the first banking lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, initiated by Oklahoma in 2019, a judge ruled in favor of the state. In the second case, filed by two Ohio counties against national pharmacy chains, a federal jury found three companies liable.
However, the litigation has produced conflicting results, even for the same defendants. Elizabeth Burch, a law professor at the University of Georgia, described Thursday’s ruling as “a pretty significant win,” especially given some recent setbacks for plaintiffs.
Last month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that Johnson & Johnson would pay the state for its role in the opioid epidemic. And in California, a state court rejected the argument that opioid manufacturers, including Teva, were a major contributor to the multiple counties’ opioid crisis.
The pharmacy chains in the Ohio case have already appealed. And Teva found that the California judge had ruled in its favor, and also said it would appeal the New York verdict.
A company spokeswoman said plaintiffs “had no evidence of medically unnecessary prescriptions, suspicious or diverted orders, no evidence of defendants’ oversupply – or any indication of what amounts were appropriate – and no causal link between Teva’s behavior, including his Marketing and any harm to the public in the state. “
Teva also announced that it would continue to pursue a wrongdoing, in part because plaintiffs’ attorneys mistakenly labeled corporate videos as training guides.
In the videos, sales managers parodied film villains. In one, an executive in the voice of Austin Powers villain Dr. Evil pushing doctors to choose the company’s drugs over competing products. On a take-off of “A Few Good Men,” a sales vice president said sales representatives had quotas: “You can’t deal with the truth,” he says. “Contingents must be exceeded.”