Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

Talk about calling a spade a spade! In Oklahoma, a judge recently ruled that Johnson & Johnson “has blood on its hands” for contributing to the opioid epidemic in America.

Several attorneys general, including one in Pennsylvania, ordered Purdue Pharma to pay for harm done to people of this state for this company’s contribution to the rise in addicts from overuse of Oxycontin.

The existing crisis has claimed 400,000 lives over decades. The company places blame on others, not only sellers of the drugs but users as well.

But Judge Thad Balknow heard arguments and ruled against Johnson & Johnson. The judge said, “The company conspired to profit from addiction.”

Allegations were that company representatives hid the results of studies and convinced doctors that some high strength painkillers were not only effective, but they were safe as well.

The Oklahoma attorney general felt such methods of marketing were deceitful.

Doctors’ opinions were pretty much ignored as medical policy was run by drug companies and hospital chains. These companies used their wealth and influence to dictate treatment and also influence politicians.

The opioid makers settled the case against them with money made from the sale of their medications and seldom admitted liability. And, so as all this unfolded, we have an opioid epidemic and those taking these medicines need to be careful and follow directions lest they become addicts and further endanger their health.

Attorneys general in several states continue attempts to make drug companies pay damages to those addicted from some opioid painkillers. The settlement under review with Purdue Pharma involves $12 billion for its manufacturing of opioids. Another trial will soon begin in Cleveland.

Representative Max Rose, D-N.Y., wants the United States to penalize China for sending massive amounts of fentanyl into the United States and “profiting off killing Americans.”

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each week in the weekend edition of this newspaper.