Pharma industry litigation and Kidman’s undoing
Johnson & Johnson faces billion-dollar lawsuit
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has been accused of helping cause the worst man-made public health crisis in the history of the US State of Oklahoma.
To put the problem in perspective, it was reported that an average of 150 Americans die each day from on opioid overdose. In Oklahoma, of the 3,000 admitted to hospitals last year for drug overdoses, 80 percent involved prescription opioids.
The trial is the first to result from around 2,000 similar lawsuits against opioid manufacturers nationally. The lawsuits by state and local governments seek to hold the companies responsible for a drug epidemic that the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says led to a record 47,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017.
Oklahoma is suing the drug manufacturers, alleging it carried out deceptive marketing campaigns for painkillers and contributed to the country's opioid crisis. Lawyers for the state of Oklahoma have accused Johnson & Johnson of deceptively marketing highly addictive opioids for years in a way that overstated their effectiveness and downplayed the risk of addiction. They claim the company's actions created a public nuisance that will cost at least $US13 billion (AUD$18.8 billion) over the next 20 years.
In related cases, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, were accused of using misleading marketing to push doctors to prescribe more opioids. The state reached a $US270 million (AUD$390 million) settlement out of court with Purdue Pharma in May, and $US85 million (AUD$122.7 million) against Teva the last week.
The Purdue out-of-court settlement relieved the immediate pressure on Purdue to seek bankruptcy protection.
During the Purdue deposition, it was revealed that the former chairman and president of pharmaceutical the company was warned by a friend and anaesthesiologist, that the addictive nature of OxyContin could make him the next Pablo Escobar. Additionally, in a move that could sign the shift from US banks away from controversial clients, JPMorgan Chase has cut ties with Purdue over their alleged role opioid crisis.
Johnson & Johnson, which sold the painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta, did so by marketing opioids as "safe and effective for everyday pain" while downplaying their addictive qualities, creating a drug oversupply. The company also has previously owned two businesses that processed Tasmanian poppies into narcotic raw materials. They also had a company that turned those into active pharmaceutical ingredients that they used, for their own drug manufacturing as well as supplying to other pharma companies.
Many pharmaceutical companies remain in a tenuous position. Product tampering (such as the Tylenol incident that killed seven back in 1982), shifts in regulatory requirements or government subsidies can cause dramatic shifts in the market, and litigation such as currently faced by Johnson & Johnson.
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Aussie Nicole and co-star Hugh Grant were stopped from filming in the exclusive enclave of Shelter Island by the uncompromising locals.
The problem has halted Kidman’s upcoming HBO series, The Undoing. The community of Shelter Island in the exclusive Hamptons, have put a stop to filming by denying Kidman and her 100-person production crew from setting up camp.
Kidman had believed the elite isle of just 2,500 people was the perfect spot for the series. They were asking for a three-day shoot, and would have needed “an old summer house,” and to film a “scene with a helicopter that involves an arrest.” (The helicopter would not have landed on the island.)
However, executives were met with "grumpy faces" from local councillors who voiced concerns about noise from the helicopter scene and late-night filming and their belief the project would result in "a whole mess".
Enticement to fuel the local economy through patronage at local restaurants, bars and accommodation for the three days of filming did nothing to change the mood of the locals.
This news puts brakes on the venture, much of which has already been filmed in New York City. There is no word on whether the team at HBO has found a suitable alternate location.
Unanticipated operational issues can have significant fiscal blow-outs for any organisation. Kidman’s team will be frantically looking for other filming locations, at a large cost to HBO.
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