New York Claims Johnson & Johnson Minimized Opioid Addiction Risks in Advertisements
A civil fraud complaint has been filed by the state of New York against drug giant Johnson & Johnson for downplaying the risks of opioid drug products in its marketing campaigns.
The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) asserts in its complaint that the company specifically targeted elderly patients for opioid treatment despite known risks and described opioid addiction as a myth in its marketing campaigns.
According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, “the opioid crisis has taken too many lives and New York state will continue to take action against those who helped fuel this public health catastrophe and bring a measure of justice to families who have lost loved ones. Misrepresentation of opioids to consumers for profit is inexcusable and we will use every tool necessary to help ensure those responsible are held fully accountable.”
Several opioid products are being manufactured by Johnson & Johnson in New York and include:
- Schedule II drugs Duragesic (a fentanyl patch)
- Nucynta (a tapentadol drug)
A huge part of the raw supply chain for an opioid is controlled by the company with its patented “Norman Poppy,” which at one point claimed up to 80% of the oxycodone raw materials global supply.
DFC further contends that the company has had a “long-standing and multi-faceted leading role in originating, supplying, facilitating, and actively creating a dangerous market for opioids for chronic pain treatment.”
Johnson & Johnson is accused of creating an environment in the medical community where it became easy for medical professionals to prescribe these powerful painkillers, thereby increasing the company’s demand for opioid-related raw materials.
Insurance Laws Violations
The DFS charges Johnson & Johnson with:
- Section 403 of the New York Insurance Law which prohibits fraudulent insurance acts
- Section 408 of the Financial Services Law which disallows intentional fraud or intentional misrepresentation of a material fact with respect to a financial product or service, including health insurance
A penalty of $5,000 per violation is available in the laws with each fraudulent prescription constituting a separate violation.
The states of Ohio and Oklahoma have also charged Johnson & Johnson with the same complaint.
Editor’s note on the Johnson & Johnson Opioid Marketing Fraud Complaint:
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