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New Jersey takes aim at opioid manufacturers in lawsuit

Janssen Pharmaceuticals is one of the biggest opioid manufacturers in the nation — and New Jersey alleges that it was negligent in the way that it pushed its product on unsuspecting consumers. The state alleges that the company’s marketing practices have vastly contributed to the nationwide problems involving prescription painkillers.

The attorney general hopes to hold Janssen culpable for the vast losses the state has endured due to the opioid crisis. The lawsuit maintains that Janssen purposefully minimized how risky and addictive opioid drugs could be, purposely misleading doctors and patients alike.

For eight years, the suit notes, Janssen heavily marketed a painkiller called Nucynta as a “safer alternative” to other opioid drugs — even though Nucynta is essentially the same drug. The company also pushed now-debunked theories like “pseudo-addiction” as a way to explain away concerns doctors might have.

In addition, the legal action contends that the company failed to exercise reasonable oversight over prescribers, noting an incident where a physician who had been visited hundreds of times by Janssen representatives prescribed a single patient over 2,700 days worth of medication in a single year.

With this move, New Jersey joins numerous other states that are trying to put some measure of accountability on the pharmaceutical industry for the financial toll the opioid crisis has taken on communities everywhere. For patients and their families directly impacted by opiate addiction, there remains another option: to sue the doctor who prescribed the drugs if they were negligent.

What makes a doctor’s prescribing practices negligent? In some cases, doctors blatantly pass out narcotics as if they are harmless, loading patients up with everything from painkillers and muscle relaxants to anti-anxiety drugs in quantities that far exceed reasonable use.

In other cases, doctors ignore growing evidence of a patient’s addiction — despite obvious signs (like “lost” prescriptions and running out of medication early) or expressions of concern from a patient’s family members. In general, the question that has to be asked when considering legal action is whether the doctor delivered less than the minimum standard of care the patient was due.

An experienced personal injury attorney can provide more information about medical malpractice claims involving painkiller addiction or prescription drug-related deaths.

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