New Jersey accuses Johnson & Johnson subsidiary of deceptively marketing opioids

By Marian Johns | Nov 23, 2018

TRENTON — The state of New Jersey is suing Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, following an investigation by the state's Attorney General's Office alleging deceptive marketing practices of known highly addictive opioid drugs. 

According to the lawsuit filed in the New Jersey Superior Court, Janssen Pharmaceuticals violated the state's Consumer Fraud Act, False Claim Act and common law prohibition of public nuisance. Janssen Pharmaceuticals' deceptive marketing included "minimizing the risks of opioids," alleging their drugs were "safer," using educational information which looked "independent" but was part of company advertising, stating a false medical theory that opioid addiction symptoms can be fixed by increasing dosage and targeting seniors for opioid use, the Attorney General's Office said. 

“Janssen helped fuel a public health crisis unlike any other our state has faced,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. “The public has a right to know about Janssen’s efforts to mislead health care providers and patients, and we will fight any effort to keep [this] filing hidden from view. Janssen’s conduct was illegal, and details about it should not be kept confidential

“It is particularly disturbing that so much of this misconduct took place in our own back yard. New Jersey’s pharmaceutical industry is the envy of the world, with a long history of developing vital, life-saving drugs. But we cannot turn a blind eye when a New Jersey company violates the law and threatens the lives of our residents. We intend to hold Janssen accountable for its deception, and to make the company pay for the public health crisis it helped to create.”

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