Dividends and Oklahoma court overturns $465 million opioid ruling against J&J

Opioids are a big problem in the medical area because while they work, many people become addicted and once addicted many lives spiral out of control with some dying. From a pharmaceutical company perspective the fact they work means it is worth selling, but how does a company insure it is not liable for the negative effects.

In an article by Ken Miller of the Associated Press, Johnson & Johnson had appeal a lower court ruling of $465 million in damages to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The issue is courts found Purdue Pharma controlled the supply chain from making to distributing the product. It used a host of devices to sell more product which brought it billions of dollars in revenue to the company.

The courts found J&J while it made opioids had no control or little control of the distribution channels including to wholesalers and distributors, they disbursed to pharmacies, hospitals and physicians’ offices who prescribed by doctors to patients. The court asked the question did J&J’s marketing and sale of opioids create a public nuisance? For J&J, opioid sales represent less than 1% of all Oklahoma opioid prescription.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, there will be many concerns over products and services and some will be the responsibility of the company and some will not be. The issue is how does the company react and go forward, do they hunker down and think everyone is for us or them? do they own up to some of the concerns and be part of the solution. For companies, solutions take time, while opponents want action right away.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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