A doctor and opioid expert says Johnson & Johnson sent a "dangerous" message to lawmakers to keep them from interfering with the growing opioid epidemic.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny said several pharmaceutical companies and medical organizations--including Johnson & Johnson were members of a group called the "Pain Care Forum."
Kolodny calls the Pain Care Forum the "opioid mafia."
"By this point, I had really begun to think of the Pain Care Forum as the 'opioid mafia,'" he said. "They had no website, no offices. Journalists would never be allowed to attend a meeting. It seemed like a very shady group that collaborated to protect each other's financial stake in supplying the United States, flooding the United States with narcotics."
He told the judge the organization convinced lawmakers that writing regulations that would result in fewer prescriptions would only be punishing pain patients who need the drugs, for the actions of drug abusers.
"It was a message that worked," Kolodny said. "If you were to ask or wonder why our opioid addiction epidemic continued to get worse year after year, it's because policymakers were accepting this framework. It worked, they were fooled by it."
Dr. Kolodny called out other organizations, like the American Pain Foundation, saying it existed solely to serve the interests of its corporate funders, like Johnson & Johnson.
He said professional medical organizations influenced doctors, patients, and even politicians by pushing false and misleading statements that opioids rarely lead to addiction. This doctor says professional medical organizations impacted doctors, patients, and even politicians.
Dr. Kolodny said when journalists exposed these groups, pharmaceutical companies stopped funding them and they went bankrupt.