West Virginia says J&J, drugmakers created ‘tsunami’ of opioid addiction


West Virginia’s attorney general on Monday urged a judge to hold Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd, and AbbVie Inc’s Allergan liable for causing a “tsunami” of opioid addiction in the state.

The addiction crisis has affected the state’s police forces, hospitals, foster care system and jails, with effects that will linger for more than a generation, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said during opening statements in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

“This epidemic has impacted virtually all of West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “Our lawsuit speaks for all West Virginians who have suffered due to the defendants’ unlawful, callous and destructive conduct.”

West Virginia has accused the drug manufacturers of creating a “public nuisance” by deceiving prescribers about the risks of opioid painkillers and said their marketing efforts caused opioids to become a common treatment for chronic pain in West Virginia, leading to an increase in substance abuse and overdose deaths.

The companies have denied the allegations in their opening statements, which Reuters viewed via Courtroom View Network.

Teva’s attorney, Harvey Bartle, said that the company’s marketing of opioids did not lead to any “medically unnecessary” prescriptions in West Virginia.


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