SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state sued Johnson & Johnson on Thursday, claiming the company was negligent when it used deceptive marketing to say the drugs were effective for treating pain and were unlikely to cause addiction.

The multinational company that supplies raw materials used to make opiates drove the pharmaceutical industry to recklessly expand the production of opioids to the point where there was more than a two-week supply of daily doses for every person in the state, the lawsuit says.

“The human toll is staggering,” state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said at a news conference. “Opioids have torn apart Washington families, overburdened our health care system and caused an epidemic of addiction we are struggling to contain. Johnson & Johnson must be held responsible for the damage it caused.”

The lawsuit, which seeks civil penalties and damages, was filed in King County Superior Court. It says the company violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act, was negligent and a public nuisance.

Washington is also asking that the company forfeit profits made in the state as a result of its behavior. Ferguson said that figure is in the millions of dollars.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc., a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary named in the lawsuit, said its opioid marketing was ’’appropriate and responsible.″

“Janssen provided our prescription pain medicines for doctors treating patients suffering from severe pain and worked with regulators to ensure safe use – everything you’d expect a responsible company to do,″ its statement said.

Ferguson said prescriptions and sales of opioids in Washington increased more than 500 percent between 1997 and 2011. He said that in 2011, at the peak of sales, more than 112 million daily doses of all prescription opioids were dispensed ,

In November a judge in Oklahoma finalized an order directing Johnson & Johnson to pay that state $465 million to address the opioid crisis.

The judge said the company and its subsidiaries helped fuel the crisis with an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that overstated how effective the drugs were for treating chronic pain and understated the risk of addiction.

(21) comments

est PNW509

Fake news “reps”

Desert Dweller

I wonder if the FDA signed off on this?

Everyone needs someone to blame it seems.


What don't we Eastern Washington Rednecks fail to comprehend is:

1 -- It is ALWAYS someone else's fault (regardless) and 2 -- SOMEONE else should always Pay for it!!

It's not really that hard to figure out.. AVOID AND DENY PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is the new battle CRY of U.S. Citizens.. What don't you understand about this?? Deny Deny Deny


The problem is that certain companies were willing to misrepresent known risks and make false claims to the doctors claiming that synthetic drugs would not be addictive as their more natural counterparts had been. That some doctors completely bought into that does concern me more than a little. Consumers then make the decision based on the commercials and doctors prescriptions. Some of these big corporations may be willing to lie knowing that they can make billions and getting their hands slapped for a couple million. I hate how so much is run judicially, in my mind that is not right. However these big corporations have to be kept in check. The opioid epidemic is the largest of my lifetime and was created on false pretenses. Watching the affects is devastating and includes so many families and all of our communities. This really is a complicated situation that is wrong on so many levels. Unfortunately suing is also not going to fix the problem, shortly we’re likely to hear how the funds are distributed. Honesty is at the heart of the problem and each of us needs to be more so to overcome this kind of problem from the ground up.


Following in the footsteps of other liberal enclaves like Oklahoma. 🤣 If they advertised deceptively and profited, they should pay. The opioid crisis is a huge burden on taxpayers.


The Democrats are the burden on taxpayers!!


The Democrats ARE the taxpayers in Washington. But nice troll.


HOLY COLOSSAL COW BATMAN.. Democrats are the taxpayers in Washington and Republicans and every other political affiliated belief by default MUST PAY NOTHING in this Republic of Seattle State.. What a statement to make. You must REALLY be such a self centered and arrogant little mouse to believe that Democrats "ARE the taxpayers in Washington"..


We're a clear majority. It stands to reason that we pay more taxes than Republicans.


OH I see .. what you were trying to say is different than what you said.. Sorry I just took your words for what they mean.. Sorry it's an Eastern Washington thing to Say what you mean and Mean what you say..

And yes there might be more Democrats in Washington but isn't it weird how the democratic party seems to only represent the population who complain about everything and whine about how they are entitled to everything?? NOT very obedient people the democrats represent..


Apology accepted. Nonsense ignored.


Strange how the truth to you is "nonsense".. I would LOVE for you to show the rest of Eastern Washington how the democratic party represents ANYTHING other than catering to people who think how they want to live is how EVERYONE should live and do things.. They just re-label it and call it "social equality".. Stalin, in his day, relabeled it too but he just called it Communism.. Make every citizen the same so everyone feels equal..

I see more from other political parties's messages more as let people live their lives and stop telling someone else from far away places what to do, how to do it, and what is the best way at doing every little thing..

But we all know you are used to being a bottom feeder and being Obedient so trust me.. NOBODY will ever expect anything from you other than relaying whatever "they" tell you to say..

I do wonder though... I wonder how ridiculous laws would have to get before you actually took a stand.. My guess is almost never..


Who was President when the Grand Coulee dam was built? Was FDR a Republican? Was the GCD built by private business, or by a reappropriation of funds from throughout the is to benefit Eastern Washington? A Democrat President brought hydropwer and irrigation to this part of Washington. Does that show you what I'm talking about?


Are you REALLY trying to prove your point by something that ALL of congress AND the president (who happened to be a Democrat) did almost 100 YEARS ago?? I asked what they PRESENT (a term meaning current time) and obviously you could not even think of anything and gave an example of something 100 years ago..

And if you did any research into your points you would know that irrigating the Columbia Basin was talked about for over 35 years before Construction on Grand Coulee Dam began. Part of the allure and funding for the dam was actually part of a military operation to supply massive amounts of power needed to supply the Hanford military base for the Plutonium enrichment process. The construction of the irrigation project masked the other major construction projects in Eastern Washington at the time which included several military bases, the building of missile silos throughout the Columbia Basin, and the construction of plants that used massive amounts of power to turn Raw materials (such as aircraft aluminum) to supply the military's needs.

So your argument about what Democrats stand for something other than representing a population that feel they are entitled to everything that everyone else has that is based on a president 100 years ago funding a project that was more for the benefit of the Government than farmers (the Agricultural secretary actually was against the project because there "was no need for additional farmground")

Well Dude .. your argument takes the feel of someone reaching and hoping someone will tell you what to say because it's clear you don't have a clue!


When the "dude"s come out, that's when I know you've lost the argument. "Represent" means only in the present? Please. You're grasping at straws.


You are right that when the "Dudes" come out it does mean something.. It means I'm tired of talking to someone who has demonstrated they are a completely clueless about a topic and that they have lost all respect at that point in time..

Dude you are the exact reason I DO NOT believe Democracy works. Even idiots like you and Attorney General Ferguson get the right to vote and have an input into how everyone else should live when it is blatantly obvious to me that you are a complete imbecile and should not be allowed to join a conversation much less have an input into it because you do not inform yourself on topics, you voice opinions based on nothing but what other's have told you, and you clearly do not have the intelligence to make opinions and decisions that would affect others personal freedom(s).


You don't believe Democracy works because people voice opinions that are different from yours? Grasshopper, that's not only HOW Democracy works, it's WHY Democracy works.


As usual you are wrong again!! Democracy only works if the people make informed decisions. People spouting their mouths with opinions based on hearsay or just plain ignorance because they won't research the topic they are forming opinions about will make not only bad decisions but have unintended consequences based on their ignorance..

Suing a drug company because people abused their product will only limit products available to patients who need some sort of pain management because drug companies, and the agencies that oversee them, just will not take the risk. Everyone wants to blame someone (and sue them) because life isn't perfect and we have a political party that is quick to jump onto that person's feeling of imperfection and make promises and decisions that are not only illogical but just plain unobtainable..

You are not going to solve crime by taking items away from criminals.

You are not going to solve that some people do not like other peoples way of life.

You are not going to solve the immeasurable costs to prolong life.

And you are not going to solve addiction problems by suing companies who make a product that people have found a way to abuse (either intentionally or unintentionally)..

Desert Dweller

Well said.

The Liberals are a burden, not to mention misguided and incompetent, It's why most of them huddle together in cities.


Now I understand...this is how WA is going to make up for it's deficit in gas tax by suing everyone/everything they can.

I'm gonna ask Ferg to sue my spoon for making me fat.


Just like the gun grabbers, blame the co. that makes 'em and remove all responsibility from the Drs. and users. Pathetic!

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