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Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson Set For Trial In Opioid Case

Marketing Campaign Lands J&J In Hot Water The state of Oklahoma wants to hold drugmaker Johnson & Johnson responsible for the state’s opioid addiction crisis, saying the drug giant’s...

(Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Marketing Campaign Lands J&J In Hot Water

The state of Oklahoma wants to hold drugmaker Johnson & Johnson responsible for the state’s opioid addiction crisis, saying the drug giant’s marketing campaign didn’t disclose the risk of addiction. The trial begins today in a state court in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s lawsuit against J&J is one of more than 2,000 similar cases nationwide.

“The lawsuits by state and local governments seek to hold the J&J and other companies responsible for a drug abuse epidemic that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says led to a record 47,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017,” Reuters reports. “Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter alleges J&J, along with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, carried out deceptive marking campaigns that downplayed opioids’ addictive risks while overstating their benefits.”

Oklahoma says the opioid epidemic has cost the state billions of dollars, and drugmakers should have to pay for getting people hooked. “We believe our evidence is persuasive and compelling with regard to their legal responsibility for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of addictions in the state,” Attorney General Hunter said.

Johnson & Johnson denies wrongdoing and said it followed protocol to bring FDA-approved medications to the market. The company says the state is ignoring the larger role of doctors, pharmacists, and illicit drug dealers in fostering addictions.

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