(Bloomberg) — Johnson & Johnson shares rose as much as 5% after an Oklahoma judge ordered the company to pay far less than some investors expected in the first trial by a state seeking compensation for the public-health crisis spawned by opioid painkillers.
Oklahoma Judge Thad Balkman ruled Monday that J&J created a temporary public nuisance by duping doctors into overprescribing its opioid-based medications, and ordered the company to pay $572 million to the state. Oklahoma had sought as much as $17.5 billion. J&J said it would appeal the ruling.
The ruling was seen as an important benchmark for pharmaceutical executives facing thousands of similar lawsuits across the U.S. from cities, counties and states. While several companies have reached settlements in a few cases, some analysts predict opioid makers and distributors may have to pay a total of $100 billion to resolve their liability for the crisis.
J&J and others, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and McKesson Corp., face their next courtroom test two months from now when the first federal cases targeting their marketing of opioid painkillers are set for trial in Cleveland.s