J & J and It’s Subsidiary Janssen’s Actions “Created a Public Nuisance”
“The court found that Johnson & Johnson’s actions had created a “public nuisance,” which Oklahoma law defines to mean an act (or failure to act) that ‘annoys, injures or endangers’ the health and safety of an ‘entire community.’
In a 42-page opinion, Oklahoma State Judge Thad Balkman details how Johnson & Johnson’s sales and marketing assured doctors the appearance of addiction in patients due to the use of J & J opioid products was actually evidence of ‘under-treated pain’ and required the prescribing of more opioids. Sales representatives used these aggressive marketing tactics to target prescription-happy doctors referred to as ‘Key Customers’ in internal correspondence.”
I can not help but feel there comes a time when one must look at the continuing misuse of opioids under a doctor’s care and wonder what the doctors were thinking.
Multiple times I have written on the deadliness of opioids. To market and promote the use of opioids, the pharmaceutical industry deliberately took one sentence of a letter written by Doctors Porter and Jink to the NEJM in 1980 and claimed the use of opioids as safe in all environments and not mentioning Porters and Jink’s study was done in a hospital setting.
Addition Rare in Patients Treated with Narcotics, NEJM 1980: “Recently, we examined our current files to determine the incidence of narcotic addiction in 39,946 hospitalized medical patients who were monitored consecutively. Although there were 11,882 patients who received at least one narcotic preparation, there were only four cases of reasonably well documented addiction in patients who had no history of addiction. The addiction was considered major in only one instance. The drugs implicated were meperidine in two patients, Percodan in one, and hydromorphone in one. We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.” Boston Collaborative Surveillance Drug Program, Boston University Medical Center, Waltham NA 02154
From 1980 till 2015 the letter was cited 491 of 608 times affirming the use of opioids does not cause addiction. There was a significant increase in citation after the introduction of OxyContin in 1995. The “median number” of citations of a NEJM letter was 11 times in total. The citation of one sentence in whole or partially was many times more.
“In Prescription Painkiller Addiction: A Gateway to Heroin Addiction,” Recall Report documents the start of the explosion in opioid use tying it to the introduction of OxyContin by Purdue Pharma in 1995/96.
The United States Congress Joint Economic Committee provides two charts detailing the total “number” of deaths per year from overdoses solely from opioids and Overdoses from all drugs during the time period of 1968 to 2015. The bar chart on the right represents the “numbers” of deaths per 100,000 (rate) of population from Overdoses solely from opioids and Overdoses from all drugs during the time period of 1968 to 2015. There has been arguments made there is no discernable evidence showing the impact of prescription opioids on the numbers of deaths. These two charts certainly points in a direction of the impact of prescribed opioids on the death rate.
Up till seeing the Joint Committee data, I had not seen earlier data. In these charts can be seen the additional yearly data predating 1980 when the Jick and Porter letter had been written to the NEJM going back as 1968. This data is important to see the magnitude of the introduction of prescribed opioids such as Oxycontin and the influence of them and the pharmaceutical industry on the usage of opioids said to be a safe drug to use outside of supervision.
State Judge Thad Balkman’s verdict will be appealed in higher state courts. If upheld, it will go to the federal courts. J & J is not a company without financial resource and they will contest this verdict as far as they can take it. The importance of the verdict is in holding a company, a citizen amongst us as declared by SCOTUS responsible for the abuse of opioids as shown in the numbers presented in this post, in earlier posts, and in the related documentation presented in all of my posts on opioids.
What the Oklahoma Johnson & Johnson Verdict Means for the Future of Opioid Litigation, Jay Willis, Microsoft News, August 27, 2019
Opioid Use since 1968 and Why It’s Abuse Increased, run75441 (Bill H), April 7, 2019
The Rise in Opioid Overdose Deaths, US Senate Joint Economic Committee, August 01 2017
Prescription Painkiller Addiction: A Gateway to Heroin Addiction, Recall Report
run75441 (Bill H)
What is missing in this conversation is the Insurance providers implementation of “guidelines” and paths of care which moved the doc’s toward prescribing pills for pain and injuries.
In part is the recognition of the over use of surgical solutions (back surgery for one) and the costs.
Rehabilitation became the thing to offset the surgical costs. Facilities popped up and PT became the go to education path. It did not take long for the insurers to decide these cost were too high. I believe they looked at the rise of costs and not the difference in costs. Then came the opioid.
Bingo! Not pain and a hell of a lot less costly to the insurer. At the same time, to many doc’s just went along with the care paths. Whether do to not time, frustration with the fight, or getting paid either way as more people could be treated faster, the people who would truly need a surgical solution where not advocated for. Just follow the care paths, when each step failed, you would finally get to surgery.
I’m sure you have talked to people who have had a doc say: We have to try this first and then the 2nd thing before surgery will be approved.
So, we have a really messed up system. People can’t get the care that is truly appropriate and needed, we have a health care system created drug crisis killing people in an economic and social environment that has reduced the security from the risks of life and living leading to a citizenry that is full of a mixed bag of negativity.
All because we have been lead to build a system on the idea that just minding the money and making it flow as freely as possible will solve all of humanities trials and tribulations.
Saying that corporations have speech rights is not tantamount to declaring them citizens. All residents of the US, documented or not, have speech rights.