Oklahoma Pain Patients Voice Concerns Over Opioid Trial
CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma - The historic opioid trial has entered week two in Cleveland County. Monday, attorneys for the state of Oklahoma presented documents to try and prove Johnson and Johnson promoted the use of opioids while downplaying the risks.
Pain patients who currently rely on opioids are among those watching the trial closely.
Oklahoma has a large and increasingly vocal group of pain patients who say they depend on opioids just live their daily lives. They are concerned about how the trial will impact them.
“I think it’s a witch hunt, honestly” said AJ, one of those pain patients who asked News 9 not to use her real name.
She says she's not addicted, but she uses opioids to help her pain after a series of surgeries. She has attended the trial along with Tamera Stewart, who also relies on opioids for pain management. Both women say at this point, they don't believe Johnson and Johnson's marketing is any different than any other business.
“If all the other pharmaceutical companies and all the other gun manufacturers, car manufacturers, anything that anyone can or will abuse get harmed with, if they are held to the same standards maybe it would be different,” said Stewart.
Stewart even tried to explain her side to one of the state's expert witnesses.
“We’re on opposite sides, but I think we have a lot more in common,” she told Andrew Kolodny.
Their concern - a verdict against Johnson and Johnson would further limit the painkillers they rely on or the costs of a multi-million dollar decision would be passed onto them. However, they both say they will listen to the evidence and keep an open mind.
“If they purposely withheld information that directly led to the deaths of these patients, then absolutely they need to have their feet held to the fire about that," said AJ.
Advocates for pain patients say they are also concerned a verdict against Johnson and Johnson will discourage companies from researching other pain relief options.