Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Caveat Tempter

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If, like me, you expect people to bear the bulk of the brunt of their own decisions, big ticket court rulings often strike you as bizarre.

Case in point? “Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson must pay $572m (£468m) for its part in fuelling Oklahoma’s opioid addiction crisis, a judge in the US state has ruled,” reads a BBC report.

“During Oklahoma’s seven-week non-jury trial,” the BBC informs, “lawyers for the state argued that Johnson & Johnson carried out a years-long marketing campaign that minimised the addictive painkillers’ risks and promoted their benefits.”

A certain credulity boundary has been stretched, here:

  1. Don’t all ads stress selling points over . . . non-selling points?
  2. Doesn’t everyone know this, and, therefore,
  3. Shouldn’t they be expected to adjust — caveat emptor-wise — accordingly?
  4. And doesn’t everyone know painkillers are dangerous, and opiates notoriously so?

“The state’s lawyers had called Johnson & Johnson an opioid ‘kingpin,’” the report continues, “and argued that its marketing efforts created a public nuisance as doctors over-prescribed the drugs, leading to a surge in overdose deaths in Oklahoma.”

The public nuisance biz is idiotic, of course. If the company had been slipping its drugs to kids on a playground, something like this would have some plausibility. But the actual situation? Nope.*

Shifting responsibility from self to others, especially deeply pocketed others, has many bad consequences . . . not least of which is deflection of our attention away from why opioid use is up. Which is something we should be looking into for our friends’, families’, and neighbors’ sakes.

Lawyers are our tempters, in such cases. 

And monetary awards can sure be addicting. 

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* Johnson & Johnson is appealing the decision, of course.

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By: Redactor


  1. Fred says:

    Williamson, W.Va., sits right across the Tug Fork river from Kentucky. The town has sites dedicated to its coal mining heritage and the Hatfield and McCoy feud and counts just about 3,000 residents.

    But despite its small size, drug wholesalers sent more than 20.8 million prescription painkillers to the town from 2008 and 2015, according to an investigation by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The opioids — hydrocodone and oxycodone pills — were provided to two pharmacies just four blocks apart. (NPR)

    Hang them all!

    • JdL says:

      “Hang them all!”

      Because people are not, and should not be expected to be, responsible for their own decisions?

      “were provided to two pharmacies just four blocks apart. (NPR)”.

      Gee, that’s awful. They should have been at least five blocks apart, right? And six would have been even better. But in any case, hang them all! The world will be a better place once we reduce people’s options sufficiently.

  2. Dave White says:

    As an Oklahoman I am disappointed with the judge’s J&J ruling. The real story is Fentanyl and also the chronic pain patients left in pain after tapering or cutoff of opioids that had allowed them to lead a better life.

  3. Not So Free says:

    Prosecuting J&J for drug abuse is like prosecuting Ford for drunk driving deaths.
    It makes no sense.
    Go after the doctors who treat opioids like candy, and wholesalers who push this stuff without prescriptions.
    For what it’s worth I am in no way a big fan of Big Pharma.

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