NORMAN, Okla./BOSTON (Reuters) – An Oklahoma judge on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) to pay $572.1 million to the state for its part in fueling an opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing addictive painkillers, a sum that was substantially less than investors had expected, driving up J&J’s shares.
The state’s attorney general had filed the lawsuit, seeking $17 billion to address the impact of the drug crisis on Oklahoma. It had been considered a bellwether for other litigation nationwide over the opioid epidemic.
“The expectation was this was going to be a $1.5 billion to $2 billion fine,” said Jared Holz, healthcare strategist for Jefferies & Co. “$572 million is a much lower number than had been feared.”
J&J said it would appeal the decision.
Shares of J&J were up 2% in extended trading following the decision, after an initial gain of more than 5%. Other drugmakers that sell opioid painkillers and are defending against similar lawsuits also rose…
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