Chicago Government Issues Subpoena to J&J in Investigation

Chicago Government Issues Subpoena to J&J in Investigation

November 15th, 2013 // 3:08 pm @

The Rahm Emmanuel administration is conducting an investigation into a branch of Johnson & Johnson for allegedly engaging in deceptive marketing of painkillers to employees of the City of Chicago. This information is according to a petition that was filed in Cook County Circuit Court, which is trying to force the company to divulge six months of company documents.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals markets two painkillers that are approved for treatment in the short term – Duragesic and Nucynta. The drugs are opioids and are made from opium. The city is claiming that Janssen did not market the drugs properly, claiming that the company marketed them for long term treatment of chronic pain, including back pain and arthritis.

The city alleges that Janssen may have mislead several health care providers and patients by downplaying the serious risks of addiction and overdose from using opioids for long term use.

The city hired the legal firm Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll to investigate various claims against Janssen.

The president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing noted this week that he thinks that this part of a larger case against several pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids. He did not say which other companies may be engaging in illegal marketing practices.

Health plans for the city of Chicago have spent millions on prescriptions for these drugs, according to the memorandum this week. It does not disclose exactly how much was spent.

On Nov. 4, the Department of Justice and Janssen settled a case for $2.2 billion regarding the improper marketing by the company of two anti psychotic drugs. So, the company has been found guilty of improper marketing of drugs very recently.

The charges by the city of Chicago against Janssen and Johnson and Johnson come as yearly opioid sales in the US have gone up 400% since 1999, with a total volume of $8.5 billion two years ago.

Janssen so far is refusing to turn over documents to the city, and is claiming that the Emmanuel administration has not yet shown any instances where false claims were made. The company also is challenging the city’s arrangement with Cohen Milstein. The firm would share a cut of any money that is recovered in the case.


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