November 13, 2018

Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. fanned the flames of the opioid crisis by using an elaborate campaign of deceptive marketing, including “doublespeak” that touted the company’s opioid painkillers as unlike most opioids, New Jersey alleged in a suit filed Tuesday.

New Jersey’s 100-page complaint blamed Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, for “crushing” health care costs related to misuse of Nucynta and Nucynta ER, which contain the active ingredient tapentadol. Janssen began selling the Nucynta products in 2008 and 2011, respectively, and pushed them with marketing schemes premised on bogus statements about risks and benefits, the complaint said.

Among many improper actions, Janssen allegedly tried to make the Nucynta pain relievers seem safer and milder than other prescription opioids, such as Purdue Pharma LP’s OxyContin, by claiming that the Nucynta products were “unlike traditional opioids” and possessed “non-opioid” properties.

“This doublespeak ... masked the reality that Nucynta and Nucynta ER are not milder and are not less addictive” than other opioids categorized under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, Tuesday’s suit said.

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New Jersey is represented by Gurbir Grewal and Patricia Schiripo of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and Betsy Miller and Victoria Nugent of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

The complete article can be accessed here.