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Morrisey To Give Opening Arguments in Opioid Case

March 30th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will present opening arguments Monday at a trial against three opioid drug manufacturers’ family of companies: Janssen, Teva and Allergan in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
In the lawsuit, the Attorney General alleges the manufacturers helped fuel the opioid epidemic in West Virginia by individually engaging in strategic campaigns to deceive prescribers and misrepresent the risks and benefits of opioid painkillers. 
The trial could take up to two months.
“We have to hold the pharmaceutical supply chain responsible for any harm their conduct may cause to the state of West Virginia and its citizens,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The widespread deception alleged in our lawsuits cannot be tolerated. They must be held accountable for their actions.”
The lawsuits, filed separately in 2019 in Boone County Circuit Court, allege the defendants concealed misconduct, mischaracterized and failed to disclose the serious risk of addiction, overstated the benefits of chronic opioid therapy and promoted higher dosage amounts without disclosing inherently greater risks. One lawsuit is against the Janssen family of opioid manufacturers, the second lawsuit is against the Teva and Allergan family of companies.
The Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. lawsuit alleges its subsidiary and co-defendant, Johnson & Johnson, turned the standard of care on its head by choosing to persuade concerned doctors that the opioids they had been unwilling to prescribe were more effective and safe enough for wide and long-term use, even for treatment of relatively minor pain conditions.
Similarly, the Teva lawsuit alleges sales representatives for that manufacturer marketed the fentanyl-based opioid Actiq to non-oncologists and pain clinic doctors, even though the representatives knew the drug in question was for cancer patients.
Both lawsuits allege the manufacturers’ conduct and campaign of misrepresentations led to opioids becoming a common treatment for chronic pain in West Virginia, a reality that fueled substance abuse and the state’s skyrocketing rate of overdose deaths.
The Attorney General alleges the manufacturers’ conduct violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act and caused a public nuisance. Both lawsuits seek injunctive and equitable relief.
The Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. lawsuit also names Cephalon, Inc. as a defendant. Both are subsidiaries of Teva Pharmaceuticals Limited.
The Allergan defendants include Allergan Finance, LLC, formerly known as Actavis, Inc. fka Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan Sales LLC; Allergan USA, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Warner Chilcott Company, LLC; Actavis Pharma, Inc. fka Watson Pharma, Inc.; Actavis South Atlantic, LLC; Actavis Elizabeth, LLC; Actavis Mid Atlantic, LLC; Actavis Totowa, LLC; Actaviis LLC; Actavis Kadian, LLC; Actavis Laboratories UT, Inc. fka Watson Laboratories, Inc.-Salt Lake City and Actavis Laboratories FL, Inc. fka Watson Laboratories, Inc.– Florida.
The civil complaints can be read at  (Teva) and (Janssen).