04/20/2022 - W. Va: Expert Witness Refutes Manufacturers Marketing Claims of Long Term Opioid Use

CHARLESTON – The State claims Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan Finance LLC exaggerated marketing claims contributing to the opioid epidemic in West Virginia.

The bench trial is being heard by Mercer County Circuit Judge Derek Swope. The manufacturers in question have criticized the state’s case against them during cross-examination of the state’s witnesses.

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the Medical Director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, testified the manufacturers had several marketing themes including “long-term daily use of opioids are effective, improve function and improve quality of life in patients with chronic pain.”

“When it comes to opioid for chronic pain, doctors were encouraged through messaging by the opioid industry to routinely prescribe opioids for chronic pain, a treatment that is far more likely to harm than help,” Kolodny said.

He further said: “My opinion is consistent with the CDC is that we have very good evidence of the risks (of long-term use) but we lack evidence of benefit.”

Dr Kolodny said any kind of surgical or medicine treatment, that has serious elements of risk, (especially showing risk than benefit) should rarely be prescribed. Prescribing came for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, lower back pain and headaches.

state and manufacturers Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan Finance LLC.

Settlement Reached

As the third week of a trial against three pharmaceutical companies continued in a Kanawha County courtroom, West Virginia state were rewarded with a $99 million settlement with one of the defendants, the parties, Johnson & Johnson.

By settling the lawsuit directly with Johnson & Johnson, West Virginia received twice renumeration it was predicted to get as part of a class-action lawsuit against the company involving other states, according to Patrick Morrisey (Attorney General)..

The state is seeking an injunction to require the companies to accurately disclose the “significant risk and limited benefits” of opioids and not to market opioid medications as front-line treatment for chronic pain.

Moreover, The state is requesting Swope to assess civil and other financial penalties against the three Pharmaceutical companies. Those penalties would be dispersed among 54 of West Virginia’s 55 county governments and other municipalities.