Johnson And Johnson Sued In New York For Opioid Crisis Misguidance

On Thursday, New York state filed civil charges and separate lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for insurance fraud and misleading the public during the current opioid crisis. They are believed to have downplayed the risks of opioid painkillers and misguided doctors about prescription drugs, and the elderly.

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Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson’s affiliate company, was accused of purposely targeting elderly patients and opioid treatments despite the dangerous risks and side effects, like neuropsychiatric symptoms, or physically falling and injuring oneself. Janssen is also accused of employing marketing materials to dismiss opioid addiction as over-dramatized.

“Misrepresentation of opioids to consumers for profit is inexcusable,” Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said in a statement.

Janssen called its marketing and promotion of opioids “very appropriate and responsible.” They responded, “Janssen provided these medicines for doctors treating patients suffering from pain with regulators, providing appropriate information about their risks and benefits.”

New York’s Department of Financial Services brought forth the charges in a list of other companies indicted in a statewide opioid industry probe. Charges against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Mallinckrodt, and Endo International have also been recently tried.

New York State’s court said Janssen manufactured opioid products there, including fentanyl patches Duragesic, and Nucynta. Janssen is based in New Jersey, has offered $4 billion to settle the opioid claims nationwide. 

Janssen is separately appealing a $465 million judgment in Oklahoma State from last November over its opioid crisis denial campaigns in local markets. 

New York State’s court also said Janssen developed the now known “Norman Poppy,” developed in 1994. This production alone once accounted for as much as 80% of the global supply for raw materials to make oxycodone.

Oxycodone is the main supplement in OxyContin. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said opioids have created over 400,000 deaths since the late 1990s.

Janssen was also charged with having violated two New York insurance laws, with fines up to $5,000 for each violation.

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