Theodore Dalrymple comments on the recent Oklahoma court-imposed fine of over $500 million on Johnson and Johnson for the company’s involvement in the American opioid epidemic over at Law and Liberty.
I do not, as I said, hold a brief for any drug company. But the action against such a company, and it alone (apart from against a grossly corrupt doctor or two), suggests scapegoating more than it suggests justice. It does not seem like scapegoating only because the company is an impersonal entity, and no individual suffers by it, at least for the moment, except infinitesimally. But the contributory negligence of many different parties—including, dare I say it, patients—was, in aggregate, very considerable.