Washington State Sues J&J Over Opioid Crisis

Date : 01/02/2020 @ 10:03PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Johnson and Johnson (JNJ)
Quote : 134.48  -4.64 (-3.34%) @ 1:00AM
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Washington State Sues J&J Over Opioid Crisis

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   By Maria Armental 

Washington State sued Johnson & Johnson, accusing the drug maker of fueling the opioid crisis in that state.

In a complaint filed in King County Superior Court, Attorney General Bob Ferguson accused J&J of embarking "on a massive deceptive marketing campaign" to convince doctors and the public that the drugs were effective in treating chronic pain and had a low risk of addiction.

"Unlike tobacco or alcohol about which no medical claims were made, patients were told by health care providers that opioids are a powerful medicine, safe to use as prescribed, and effective to relieve chronic pain," the suit reads. "Against this message, the public had no defense."

J&J officials previously denied playing a role in the opioid crisis and said it legally sold highly regulated painkillers.

A J&J representative couldn't immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

Washington State--which has filed similar claims against drug maker Purdue Pharma LP and drug distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Corp.--referred to an Oklahoma ruling last year ordering J&J to pay $465 million to help address the damage caused by opioid addiction in that state. J&J has appealed.

The Oklahoma case was the first to go to trial out of thousands of similar cases brought by cities, counties and states that say drugmakers and distributors are responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by marketing drugs too aggressively and not providing oversight of how many of their prescription drugs flooded into communities.


--Sara Randazzo contributed to this story.


Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 02, 2020 16:48 ET (21:48 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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