Johnson & Johnson fined $572m for ‘fuelling opioid crisis’

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $572m (£464m) for running a “false and dangerous” campaign that fuelled Oklahoma’s opioid crisis.

According to the landmark ruling, Johnson & Johnson is responsible for helping to create the worst drug epidemic in US history, which has resulted in the death of 6,000 people in Oklahoma since 2000.

The judge ruled the company aggressively pushed false claims about the safety of its narcotic painkillers, as well as altering medical practice by funding organisations and research to promote narcotics with “deceptive” claims intended to break down caution among doctors about prescribing opioids.

Johnson & Johnson, which will appeal the ruling, claims its painkillers have accounted for less than 1% of the US market since 2008.

“The decision in this case is flawed,” the company says. “The State failed to present evidence that the company’s products or actions caused a public nuisance in Oklahoma.

“The judgment is a misapplication of public nuisance law that has already been rejected by judges in other states.”

READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson to pay $572m for fueling Oklahoma opioid crisis, judge rules

Nestlé under fire over natural springs plans

Nestlé has sparked outcry over plans to draw 1.1 million gallons of water a day from Ginnie Springs, which is part of Florida’s Santa Fe River.

The food and drinks giant, which owns water brands Pure Life and Zephyrhills, is seeking permission to use the water to sell back to the public as bottled water.

In a letter, George Ring, natural resources manager for Nestlé Waters North America, says: “The facility is in the process of adding bottling capacity and expects significant increases in production volumes equal to the requested annual average daily withdrawal volume of approximately 1.152 million gallons.”

Opponents say the plan should be disqualified on environmental grounds alone and that it is impossible to withdraw millions of gallons of water and not have an impact.

The river is also home to 11 native turtle species and four non-native species, which rely on a strong water flow and river levels.

READ MORE: Nestlé plan to take 1.1 million gallons of water a day from natural springs sparks outcry

Dr. Oetker returns to TV for GBBO

Dr. Oetker is returning to TV sponsorship with a refreshed creative launching this evening during the first episode of Great British Bake Off.

The Fabulous Baker Boys, Siobhan the Unicorn and new character Bianca the soulful buttercream cake will star in the ads for the duration of the 10-week baking competition, which is entering the final year of its three-year deal with Channel 4.

“GBBO is one of the biggest events in the home baking calendar and we’re thrilled to announce we’ll be back on TV for this key period. Consumers are extremely receptive to baking inspiration during this period and we hope to bring even more excitement to the sector with our loveable cake characters,” says Jan McKee, executive head of marketing UK at Dr. Oetker.

“We’re looking forward to this year’s series and it’s exciting to see so many young contestants this time. We know from viewing figures that GBBO has a strong appeal with younger audiences and has helped drive the growing number of millennials engaging with the category.”

The seven-figure campaign includes TV and video-on-demand, as well as a digital campaign designed to drive traffic to the baking brand’s GBBO online hub.

Kerry Foods unveils new campaign for Strings & Things

Kerry Foods is launching a £3m marketing campaign to raise awareness of the expansion of its Strings & Things range and highlight the recent Cheeshapes product lunch.

The campaign will be formed of two adverts running across TV, video-on-demand, social and radio. One advert will focus on the entire Strings & Things product portfolio – Cheestrings, Cheeshapes and Yollies – while the second will focus solely on Cheeshapes.

We’re very excited to launch our first ad campaign under our new master brand – Strings & Things – and to highlight to consumers the full range of exciting products that come under this,” says Victoria Southern, marketing category director at Kerry Foods.

“The ad is light-hearted and playful to mimic the personality of the range and will launch just in time for children to return to school where we hope Strings & Things products will become lunchtime staples.”

Brands influence consumer health choices

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of British consumers say they care more about how ‘healthy’ their food and drinks are compared to five years ago, with a product’s brand the main source they turn to in order to determine how healthy products are.

When asked which sources inform consumer perceptions of healthy food and drink generally, 40% of respondents said they base it on the product’s brand.

Only 22% said they based it on government advice, or their friends and family. Only 13% said they used an app-based nutritionist and only 4% pointed to a social media influencer.

“Brands clearly have great influence over what consumers determine as healthy, and customers need to be clued up on the health claims around certain ingredients,” says Jason Parker, UK head of health at KPMG, which carried out the study.

“However, it’s great news that our population – and Generation Z in particular – is more engaged in taking responsibility for their own health. If consumers make informed decisions about healthy eating, we will slowly begin to see less demand on our health services for the vast range of issues that go hand-in-hand with an unhealthy diet.”