Johnson & Johnson charged by New York with civil insurance fraud over opioid claims

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New York state filed civil charges on Thursday accusing Johnson & Johnson of insurance fraud for downplaying the risks of opioid painkillers, including to doctors and elderly patients.

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Johnson & Johnson is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

17 Sep 2020 11:15PM
(Updated: 18 Sep 2020 01:01AM)

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NEW YORK: New York state filed civil charges on Thursday accusing Johnson & Johnson of insurance fraud for downplaying the risks of opioid painkillers, including to doctors and elderly patients.

J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals affiliate were accused of targeting elderly patients for opioid treatment despite the risks of side effects such as falls, fractures and neuropsychiatric symptoms.

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The company was also accused of employing marketing materials, "seemingly independent" advocacy groups and "key opinion leaders" to dismiss opioid addiction as a myth.

"Misrepresentation of opioids to consumers for profit is inexcusable," Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

In a statement, J&J called its marketing and promotion of opioids "appropriate and responsible. Janssen provided these medicines for doctors treating patients suffering from pain and worked with regulators to provide appropriate information about their risks and benefits."

The charges by New York's Department of Financial Services are the fourth in its opioid industry probe, following charges against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Allergan Plc, Endo International Plc and Mallinckrodt Plc.

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J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has proposed paying US$4 billion to settle opioid claims by U.S. states, cities and Read More – Source