Opioid Trial: Doctors Are Responsible To Understand Opioids

Wednesday, July 3rd 2019, 8:12 pm
By: News On 6

An Oklahoma heart surgeon testified for Johnson & Johnson today, and said it's the doctor's responsibility to prescribe painkillers responsibly.

Dr. Kyle Toal told the judge that opioids are essential during and after surgery.

He said he uses the painkillers with every patient, and doesn't know of any person who has became addicted to opioids in his 40 years of surgery.

Toal referenced several of the state's witnesses who talked about how physicians in Oklahoma were fooled by pharmaceutical sales reps into thinking opioids were safe and unlikely to be abused.         

Toal said he takes offense to that. He said it's up to the doctor to research and educate themselves so they can make smart decisions for their own patients before they prescribe an opioid.

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"My opinion would be, well, he's uninformed obviously," Toal said of other testimonies. "It was very offensive to me, embarrassing to some degree the someone would think that about a health care professional."

He said doctors should make prescribing decisions independently rather than only information they learn from sales reps.

"Their job is to develop the medicines and tell you about the medicines," he said. "My job is to use them safely."

Dr. Toal said a pharmaceutical sales rep has never influenced his decision in prescribing painkillers.