Gurbir Grewal

Kevin R. Wexler/

NJ Sues Another Drug Company Amid Flood Of Overdoses

November 14, 2018 - 8:22 am

NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- According to New Jersey’s attorney general, the seeds of the opioid epidemic were planted in part in New Jersey’s backyard.

The state has filed a lengthy lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, based in Raritan, alleging it used deceptive marketing and pushed two of its opioid pain medications.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says the company positioned Nucynta and Nucynta ER as safer alternatives to other, more powerful opioid drugs, when patients were still at risk of becoming addicted.

Janssen sold the rights to Nucynta and Nucynta ER in 2015 for more than $1 billion, but Grewal says the company marketed the two drugs irresponsibly for eight years and must be held responsible. 

"They funded bogus research, they pushed bogus theories like pseudo-addiction, things that have been debunked," Grewal said at a press conference this week.

Janssen defends its marketing practices and refutes the allegations, saying it acted appropriately and responsibly.

Johnson & Johnson is not named in the suit.

This is the third such lawsuit filed by New Jersey as it attempts to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the addition crisis.

According to the CDC, four out of five heroin addicts start with prescription pain pills.

There have been nearly 2,700 opioid-related overdose deaths in New Jersey this year.