The US has become 'flooded with opioids... the death toll is enormous': Expert witness testifies in landmark Oklahoma trial against pharma giant Johnson & Johnson which he says did 'everything' to market highly addictive drugs
A doctor testified on Tuesday that the country had become 'flooded with opioids' and the death toll was 'enormous' as a result at a landmark trial against a pharmaceutical giant blamed for causing the health crisis.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny is among the state's witnesses at the Oklahoma trial against Johnson and Johnson.
He is the co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and has spent years researching the crisis.
The state is suing J&J, claiming it deceitfully marketed addictive painkilling drugs without sufficiently warning doctors or patients of the risk.
Two other pharmaceutical giants, Teva and Purdue, were also being sued but they settled with the state before the trial began.
So far over the last three weeks, the jury has heard from the father of a college football player who died from a cocktail of prescription pills and from health experts.
On Tuesday, Dr. Kodogny took the stand to lay the crisis bare.
He believes it began when prescribing practices changed in 1996 and that J&J did 'everything' it could to take advantage of it.
'We destroyed the dam of narcotic conservatism, and we flooded the country with opioids,' he said, adding that he'd had a 'front row seat' to the problem getting 'worse and worse'.
'The opioid crisis is, I think, the most significant public health crisis our country has faced possibly in its history — certainly since the Spanish flu epidemic.
'The death toll is enormous,' he said.
Dr. Kolodny said he at first attributed most of the blame for the problem with Purdue and Teva but that after reviewing documents submitted as evidence for the trial, he now felt J&J was as much to blame.'
Read more: The US has become 'flooded with opioids... the death toll is enormous': Expert witness testifies in landmark Oklahoma trial against pharma giant Johnson & Johnson which he says did 'everything' to market highly addictive drugs
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