Medicaid fraud lawsuit against opioid manufacturer

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office filed a civil Medicaid fraud lawsuit against two pharmaceutical companies for using the dangerous opioid drug, Duragesic.

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The State alleges the pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. provided false and misleading messages about their fentanyl opioid drug to doctors in Texas, including Medicaid doctors.

Sales representatives allegedly told doctors Duragesic had fewer side effects, worked better, and posed less risk of addiction than other opioids, despite multiple FDA reprimands that those claims were false and misleading.

As a result of these misrepresentations, Johnson & Johnson obtained the benefit of taxpayer-funded Texas Medicaid reimbursement for Duragesic while fueling our nation’s opioid epidemic.

“In this case, Johnson & Johnson not only defrauded Texas taxpayers and diverted precious healthcare dollars from Texans in need, they contributed to the opioid crisis that has destroyed the lives of an untold number of Texas families,” Attorney General Paxton said.

According to the attorney’s office, prescription and illegal opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths nationwide. 

RELATED: Opioid crisis in East Texas is a serious problem

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, including 1,174 in Texas. Opioid overdoses in the U.S. have quadrupled since 1999.

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