Health products giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is raking up huge losses owing to its lawsuits. The company is currently facing a series of lawsuits from over 100,000 plaintiffs questioning the marketing practices and safety of the company’s products. Instead of looking for settlements, the company is aggressively tackling the complaints in court. However, the strategy is not just expensive and painstaking but also a losing game for the company.
The problems keep rising
The judges and juries have been ordering overwhelmingly against the company, making it pay multi-billion dollars in fines and payments. The most recent trials of the company are related to its baby powder and a few medical devices and drugs that have caused injury to people.
The company is also being blamed for fueling an opioid crisis in the country because of its marketing practices. An Oklahoma judge ordered a $572 million payment for its role in the crisis. The company will appeal the decision. In 2018, a jury in St. Louis ordered it to pay $4.7 billion to 22 plaintiffs. They alleged that the company’s signature baby powder was responsible for causing ovarian cancer. The company is appealing the decision as well.
A jury in Philadelphia recently ordered the company to pay $8 billion to the plaintiff who faced abnormal breast enlargement because of Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug. Keeping up with its practice of fighting it out in court, the company suggests that it has disclosed the benefits and risks of the drug adequately and will appeal the decision.
Is J&J in the middle of a legal crisis?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the company had about 8,580 plaintiffs suing it in different US courts by October 2011. Fast forward to 2019; the company is facing suits from over 103,300 plaintiffs. Its talcum powder has lawsuits pending from over 15,500 plaintiffs as of June 30, 2019. In 2016, this number was only 1,400.
According to Beasley Allen attorney Andy Birchfield, the company wants to delay and drag the cases in court for as long as possible. Beasley Allen is a Montgomery, Alabama-based firm involved in a few lawsuits over the company’s baby powder. Even if the company is able to overturn the verdicts in cases related to Risperdal, the opioid problem will be a costly case. Wells Fargo estimates that J&J’s coffers could be emptied by $5 to $10 billion because of opioid-related lawsuits.