Expert Witness Questioned Under Fire In Oklahoma Opioid Trial

Monday, July 1st 2019, 7:05 pm
By: News On 6

An expert witness for Johnson & Johnson is under fire from the State of Oklahoma. State's attorneys said in 2016, Dr. Timothy Fong gave a presentation placing blame on pharmaceutical companies for starting the country's opioid crisis. Now, he's testifying in their defense.

Fong is an addiction psychiatrist from UCLA. He spent the day talking about opioid use disorder and the way he helps his patients recover from that disease.

Dr. Timothy Fong told the judge he wasn't there to offer an opinion about Johnson & Johnson's marketing tactics, and said he had no opinion on how or why the opioid crisis started. But the state's attorney was quick to point out a video that was played earlier in the trial, showing Dr. Fong giving a presentation in 2016 where he called pharmaceutical company's sale tactics "aggressive."

"We are not going to agree to not be able to cross examine this gentleman about the many times publicly he has said that the drug industry is responsible for the opioid crisis that we have," Prosecutor Brad Beckworth said.

"And I don't think it's a laughing matter Mr. Yoder, and neither do any of the families who have lost children due to this!"

Here's a short excerpt from Fong's 2016 presentation:

"You couple physician anxiety about treating pain with a lot more choices to prescribe, with a pharmaceutical industry that was very aggressive in promoting pain management treatment, so dinners, lunches like this," he said. "Golf trips, massages, the drug reps. All that from 1998 onward to about mid-2000s saying 'Hey, do me a favor, prescribe this for me, I'll do you a solid.'"

Today, Fong told the judge he had no opinions about the causes of the opioid crisis.

Dr. Fong also told the judge Johnson & Johnson's attorney flew out to Los Angeles to meet with him after the start of the trial about his upcoming testimony.

The state's attorney said the meeting happened a few days after that video was shown to the judge.