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.
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 More