Transcript for Johnson and Johnson ordered to pay $572M in opioid case
tonight involves the stunning new ruling late today. A judge in Oklahoma ordering Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for aggressively marketing addictive painkillers to doctors and patients. The question tonight, is this just the beginning? Here's ABC's Steve osunsami now. Reporter: This decision has the nation's drugmakers on alert tonight. This Oklahoma judge has decided that corporate giant Johnson & Johnson helped fuel opioid addictions in his state. And he's ordering them to cough up more than half a billion dollars to help residents struggling with addiction. The opioid crisis is an imnant danger and menace to okay la low mans. Reporter: Craig box is one of the parents who testified at trial. His son Austin was a linebacker at the university of Oklahoma who started taking painkillers after a back injury. The young man was hooked quickly and then died of an overdose in 2011. I'm just pleased that the court found that Johnson & Johnson was responsible for this epidemic and the cause of so much pain to Oklahoma. Reporter: Opioids are blamed for more than 6,000 deaths in Oklahoma since the year 2000. The state blamed Johnson & Johnson for misleading marketing to doctors and patients, that the state says downplayed the 48 states and more than 2,000 local and tribal governments have now sued But Johnson & Johnson did not cause the opioid abuse crisis here in Oklahoma or anywhere in Reporter: In a statement tonight, Johnson & Johnson points out that "The FDA-approved labels of these medicines provide clear information about their risks and benefits." So, let's bring in Steve osunsami with us live tonight. Johnson & Johnson tonight vowing to appeal. And again, for families who have been ravaged by opioid addiction, they will see some of this verdict if it is upheld? Reporter: Yes. The judge is calling this an abatement program for these families. Johnson & Johnson is saying this could stretch the process out for another couple of years. We should point out there are at least two other pharmaceutical companies that have settled with the state of Oklahoma. All of them face multiple lawsuits across the country. Just one state right here tonight. Steve, thank you.
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