Vox Sentences: A bitter pill for Johnson & Johnson

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Johnson & Johnson talk settlement as trial begins

  • A big legal battle over the opioid crisis is reportedly inching closer to a settlement in which the biggest American drug manufacturers and distributors might pay $50 billion to try to end more than 2,000 individual lawsuits. [NYT / Jan Hoffman]
  • But the proposed settlement, which would include $29 billion for addiction treatment and $22 billion in cash, is far from final, and the case could still end up going to trial next week. [NBC / Laura Strickler]
  • The litigation was meant to hold companies all along the chain of opioid production — from drug manufacturers to Walgreens — responsible for their role in the epidemic, which has killed more than 400,000 people. [Washington Post / Lenny Bernstein, Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz, and Aaron C. Davis]
  • The two main legal arguments behind the cases: opioid manufacturers misleadingly marketed their pills, and opioid distributors allowed them to be doled out, even when it should have been clear that people were abusing the drugs. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • While settlement talks continue, the jury has been selected for the first case to go to trial, and an Ohio judge is set to hear opening arguments on Monday. [AP News / Mark Gillispie and Geoff Mulvihill]
  • Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson settled other opioid cases in Ohio and Oklahoma, paying out millions to join a list of drug companies attempting to avoid federal trials. [NYT / Jan Hoffman]
  • Vox’s German Lopez argues that the settlements aren’t enough: The executives responsible should be charged with crimes. [Vox / German Lopez]

Barcelona engulfed in demonstrations

  • On the third day of protests by Catalan separatists, things escalated, with protesters setting cars on fire and throwing acid at police. [The Guardian / Stephen Burgen and Sam Jones]
  • Demonstrations broke out after nine Catalan separatist leaders were indicted on charges of sedition and misappropriation of funds. They will serve prison sentences of up to 13 years. [Wall Street Journal]
  • Over 90 people were injured on both sides over the course of the protests, but Catalan leaders promised to continue to fight for independence. [Washington Post / Pamela Rolfe and James McAuley]
  • The protests have significantly disrupted Barcelona, with 108 flights canceled on the first day of protests alone. [AP News]
  • The resurgent 2017 Catalonia independence movement that the leaders were arrested during was not the first of its kind in Spain. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]

Miscellaneous

  • Alibaba and Universal are teaming up to open a theme park in Beijing. [CNN Business / Sherisse Pham]
  • When shopping, women’s clothing sizes vary greatly. Here’s how to navigate that. [Vox / Tracy E. Robey]
  • Trading on Trump’s erraticism: Some Wall Street dealers are cashing in on the president’s actions. [Vanity Fair / William D. Cohan]
  • A firm that dealt with the “Panama Papers” is suing Netflix for defamation in the streaming service’s newest flick portraying the incident. [Reuters / Elida Moreno]

Verbatim

“A life without pugs is possible, but meaningless.”

[German comedian Vicco von Bülow jokes about the popularity of the breed in his country, and on their racetracks]


Watch this: The man who rigged America’s election maps

The life of Thomas Hofeller, the gerrymanderer-in-chief. [YouTube / Alvin Chang]


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