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The Latest: Drugmakers say products were heavily regulated

May 28, 2019
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Defense attorney Larry Ottaway speaks during opening arguments Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Norman, Okla., as the nation's first state trial against drugmakers blamed for contributing to the opioid crisis begins in Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, Pool)

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The Latest on the trial in Oklahoma’s lawsuit against drugmakers, blaming them for contributing to the nation’s opioid crisis (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

Drug companies being sued by the state of Oklahoma for fueling the state’s opioid addiction crisis say the products they manufactured were heavily regulated by state and federal agencies and addressed an important need for pain management.

Attorneys for Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson delivered opening statements Tuesday in the nation’s first state trial against drugmakers blamed for contributing to the opioid crisis.

Janssen attorney Larry Ottaway told a Cleveland County judge that the company represents only a small part of a vast supply and distribution chain for opioid products that is extensively regulated by various federal agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says the powerful painkillers led to the “worst manmade public health crisis” in U.S. history.

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10 a.m.

The nation’s first state trial against drugmakers blamed for contributing to the opioid crisis is underway in Oklahoma.

Opening arguments started Tuesday with Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter saying powerful painkillers led to the “worst manmade public health crisis” in U.S. history.

Drugmakers deny those claims.

Lawyers for consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson and several subsidiaries are expected to start making their case later Tuesday. Two other pharmaceutical companies have settled with Oklahoma.

The trial could bring to light documents and testimony that show what the companies knew, when they knew it and how they responded.

The outcome could also shape negotiations on how to resolve the roughly 1,500 opioid lawsuits filed by state, local and tribal governments. Those have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.

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