Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said the state is pleased with a judge's $572 million ruling against Johnson & Johnson for its role in the opioid crisis, and claimed the company has been fueling addiction to boost profits, during an interview on "America's Newsroom."
"We're pleased with the judge’s ruling," Hunter said Tuesday. "[Johnson & Johnson] bought a poppy farm down in Australia 20 years ago, they’ve been supplying 60 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredient for the rest of the industry. They, along with their co-conspirators in the industry, misrepresented the addictive effects."
He continued, "What the judge ordered them to do is to begin to take responsibility for the mess in Oklahoma, and I’m asking the CEO of that company to get his checkbook out and write this check so that we can start... addressing the problems they created in our state."
The final judgment was well short of the $17 billion the state was seeking when the trial started in May, but it represented a step forward and should not be painted as frivolous, Hunter said.
"We showed the court, inarguably, that Johnson & Johnson was responsible," he said. "They were part of the cause for the epidemic and when you’ve got thousands of people dying, hundreds of thousands of people addicted, you've got to resort to your state's laws to address the problem."
Co-host Sandra Smith pressed Hunter on his connection to Purdue Pharma, which settled a case with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million this past spring, citing a Wall Street Journal article that claimed Hunter's son worked at a treatment center that would gain $200 million from the settlement.
"Is there any connection to this settlement with Purdue Pharma?" she asked.
"Is there any connection with trying to create... something that can be the MD Anderson of addiction science?" he replied, citing the famous cancer center. " I think that the rationale... speaks for itself. I regret the fact that my son [who's] a lawyer for the health sciences center -- has anything to do with this."
Fox News' Sandra Smith contributed to this report.