Drug manufacturers are being tested in California for allegedly reducing their risk of drug use and engaging in fraudulent businesses that exacerbate the opioid problem.
Allergan of Johnson & Johnson, Teva, Endo and AbbVie have been charged with drug trafficking and are facing the risk of intoxication in order to increase sales, in a case in which three states in California and Oakland, seeking to cut billions of dollars.
“The unfortunate legacy of these advertisements, the advertising, the lies, the commercials, is the opioid epidemic that continues in California,” Fidelma Fitzpatrick said in her opening remarks on Monday – Santa Clara, Orange County and Los Angeles , and Oakland.
He also said that the companies are engaged in “advertising and promotion of opioids, all the while knowing the risks”.
Explaining the case to Judge Peter Wilson, Fitzpatrick said the drugmakers were involved in a trade that was “misleading and false”, pointing out that all four companies said “there is no high level” and that intoxication did not occur.
“The harms that have resulted from this advertising and marketing campaign are real these days,” he said, adding that the companies have misled doctors into believing that opioid delivery is the right approach. “This is not a problem for bad doctors, it is a problem for pills.”
The program of opioid epidemic has spread to the US and has claimed thousands of lives. About 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid overdoses account for the majority of US people who have died from drug overdose.
The California lawsuit is the latest in a string of high-profile drug cases involving drug addiction in the United States, which has fueled thousands of lawsuits across the country. In 2019, J&J was ordered to do so give $ 572m on the defamation by a judge in Oklahoma who found that the company had caused a “public disturbance” in the state. Opponents in the case want to prove the same.
In Teva’s opening remarks, attorney Collie James said his client had not done anything wrong. “Evidence does not support the main idea of the conspiracy… My client’s sales are legitimate, necessary and effective in dealing with pain.”
Teva reopened opioid case with Oklahoma in early 2019, to pay the state $ 85m his remarks aggravated the problem.
The case is being held at a distance via Zoom, and lawyers for all four companies are due to report back on Monday.