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NJ Sues J & J Subsidiary Janssen Over 'Scheme To Deceive Doctors And Patients' About Opioids

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson which manufactures opioids, claiming the company fueled a public health crisis and mislead patients about the dangers of the drugs.

Grewal detailed a five-count lawsuit filed against Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The state says Janssen aggressively and deceptively marketed its prescription opioid products, knowing full-well that they carried a high risk of addiction and abuse.

"Our lawsuit details a years-long scheme designed to deceive doctors and patients about two of the company's opioid products," Grewal said. "As the complaint makes clear, Janssen went to great lengths to mislead the public."

The attorney general alleges the following of Janssen:

  • masterminded a public relations campaign to undermine accepted medical practices
  • used a network of sales representatives to push its misleading marketing
  • quietly funded front organizations that peddled bogus medical theories

"It even went so far as targeting elderly nursing home and hospital patients with its misinformation," Grewal alleged.

In a statement, Janssen said "the marketing and promotion of these products was responsible."

"The labels for our prescription opioid pain medicines provide information about their risks and benefits," the company continued. "The allegations made against our company are baseless and unsubstantiated."

Tuesday's lawsuit is the third case brought by the attorney general against an opioid manufacturer, but the first against a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey. The state is seeking reimbursements and civil penalties.

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