Opioid Trial: Oklahoma Satisfied With Where They're Leaving Their Case

Wednesday, June 26th 2019, 7:29 pm
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's Attorney General says his team feels confident they've shown the judge everything they need to prove Johnson & Johnson was at the forefront of the state's opioid crisis.

Both the state and Johnson & Johnson's attorney had extensive questions for the state's last witness.

Commissioner Terri White works for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and helped create the state's plan to fix the painkiller epidemic.             

White accused J&J of causing the over-supply of opioids that caused the crisis in the first place. She showed the judge an "influencer map" from 2009 that showed all the people, including doctors and pharmacists, Johnson & Johnson "targeted" to encourage the prescribing of more opioids.

"Johnson & Johnson and Janssen created this entire document and these pages we're going to look at," she said. "Their goal was to influence everyone on this map to end up prescribing more Nucynta, more opioids. This is during 2009, because remember this product wasn't released until the height of the opioid crisis."

Attorney General Mike Hunter said they feel good about where they're leaving their case as Johnson & Johnson starts its case tomorrow.              

The state is being allowed to call one more witness, a Johnson & Johnson sales rep, when she returns from vacation.

“For four weeks, we have heard the State make vague, one-size-fits-all claims without any evidence that the company caused opioid abuse or misuse in Oklahoma. Facts matter, and as we have said from the beginning and look forward to showing again in our case, the company's marketing was squarely within the regulations, and it did everything a responsible manufacturer and seller of opioid pain medications should do. The facts will also show the company’s medicines have helped patients with pain,” said John Sparks, with Oklahoma counsel for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.

“Additionally, the State’s far-reaching legal odyssey to grossly expand public nuisance law should send a chill through every cattleman, farmer, oil and gas producer and any company doing business in Oklahoma.”