Oklahoma won (and lost) the Johnson & Johnson trial…

In case you missed, judge Thad Balkman dropped his verdict on the Johnson & Johnson trial like it was hot on Monday afternoon.

The ruling received swift and massive national media coverage. Via the New York Times:

A judge in Oklahoma on Monday ruled that Johnson & Johnson had intentionally played down the dangers and oversold the benefits of opioids, and ordered it to pay the state $572 million in the first trial of a drug manufacturer for the destruction wrought by prescription painkillers.

The amount fell far short of the $17 billion judgment that Oklahoma had sought to pay for addiction treatment, drug courts and other services it said it would need over the next 20 years to repair the damage done by the opioid epidemic.

Yes, Oklahoma wanted to $17-billion and only got $572-million. That appears to be a $16,428,000,000 difference in between what was asked for and what was received. How awful is it for a corporation like Johnson & Johnson to pay out half a billion dollars, and then suffer the repercussions that come with being a peddler of deadly, addictive, and abusive drugs?

The answer is: Not so bad. The company’s market capitalization is $345-billion. I’m a writer, not an economist who specializes in math, but that tells me the verdict accounted for .001% of Johnson & Johnson’s worth. You can see how it shook the stock market:

Despite the surprisingly less than favorable verdict, and the fact the J&J is going to appeal, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter stood in front of the camera and declared some sort of victory. It still caught him into some trouble:

Ah shit, now Oklahoma’s gonna get sued by the Windex company! I hope we don’t have to give all the money we made from a company that poisons people to the one that makes chemicals to kill bugs. Also, please admit that you thought they were the same company.

Anyways, when I see news like this, I think about my friends who became addicted to painkillers because of injuries, or fell off even deeper into heroin abuse. The ones who had bright eyes and beautiful faces and creative plans for their futures, and became smothered underneath the pillow of addiction. Their wild eyes closed, their faces turned skeletal, and their futures erased as they exhaled their last breaths.

Pharmaceutical corporations are the most vile pushers on the planet, and if America wants to continue its ill-founded ‘War On Drugs,’ vampire corporations like Johnson & Johnson need to be punished the hardest. They’ve legitimized serious substance abuse in a way that can allow your grandmother, younger brother, dad, whoever, fall into true despair and death. We can’t settle for pennies on the dollar like Oklahoma just did, yet again, when lives are at stake.