New Jersey sues pharmaceutical company over opioid crisis
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New Jersey sues pharmaceutical company over opioid crisis

New Jersey’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for misleading patients and prescribers about the addictive risks associated with the use of its drugs.

The complaint alleges that Janssen is actively contributing to the opioid crisis by aggressively and inaccurately marketing their opioid drugs.

New Jersey alleges that Janssen released drugs Nucynta and Nucynta ER with deceptive marketing labels, promoting them as “safer, milder, and less addictive” than other opioids on the market. Janssen released Nucynta into the market in 2008, and Nucynta ER in 2011. Nucynta and Nucynta ER are cited as being addictive narcotics whose probability of addiction are similar to other Schedule II opioids, such as OxyContin and fentanyl.

The claim indicates Janssen overstated the benefits of their drugs, targeted elder and opioid naïve patients, and fraudulently concealed their misconduct. As a result, Janssen caused significant harm to the public and New Jersey incurred financial burdens via opioid purchases through health plans and workers’ compensation.

New Jersey supported their complaint with statements corroborating this marketing strategy of Janssen. Sales representatives as well as physicians indicate they were also misled. Janssen reassured them of their drug’s minimal addiction risk, encouraging prescriptions to chronic pain patients.

This lawsuit is the first legal action New Jersey has undertaken against a pharmaceutical company in the state. The suit furthers the state’s efforts to combat their current opioid crisis.