NEWARK – New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on Tuesday that the state had filed a lawsuit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals as a part of the ongoing fight against the opioid crisis.
“Today we are holding Janssen accountable,” Grewal said. “We allege that for years Janssen pharmaceuticals Inc., a holy subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, aggressively and deceptively marketed its prescription opioid products to the people of NJ knowing full well that its products carried a high risk for addiction and abuse.”
The suit, which is about the drugs Nucynta and Nucynta ER, was submitted Tuesday in Superior Court in Mercer County. Janssen is based out of Raritan and Johnson & Johnson is based out of New Brunswick.
The state highlighted allegations against the company like the use of two types of deception, minimizing the risk of opioids in general and attempting to make its appear opioids different from other’s by promoting them as safer, milder and less addictive, which the state called deceptive.
The company was used an unbranded marking campaign, which used writing and web content that looked independent from the company, that the state said was designed to embed its deceptions about the viability of long-term opioid use.
Also alleging the company targeted elderly and non-opioid users and promoted a bogus clinical theory, which the state again called misleading.
“Janssen did all of this in an effort to increase its bottom line,” Grewal said.
Janssen did sell the drugs in question back in 2015 for a billion dollars, but the attorney general says they still have to be held accountable for the damage they caused.
The complaint asks that Janssen pay civil penalties, repay its ill-gotten gains, and pay damages for false claims submitted to the state. Also asking them to stop all unlawful practices and correct its misrepresentations.
This is the third case brought against an opioid manufacturer by the attorney general, who said that an unprecedented crisis prompts an unprecedented response.