CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma - The defense in the state’s opioid trial began presenting its case Thursday in Cleveland County District Court. 

For the past 22 days, the state has argued Johnson & Johnson carries much of the blame for the opioid crisis in Oklahoma. Thursday, the pharmaceutical giant got a chance to fight back.

Doctor Bruce Moskovitz headed Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Affairs group until he retired. He started with the company in 1990. Moskovitz testified for Johnson & Johnson, explaining how clinical trials were done on every drug produced, how those drugs were tested and peer reviewed, and how drugs were only marketed after they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“All drugs have risks associated with them and some are very serious risks but ultimately the FDA is going to determine whether the benefits outweigh those risks,” testified Moskovitz.

Moskovitz said all promotional materials would be reviewed before they were approved by the FDA.

“The promotional review committee would review any of the materials that would be considered to share with the healthcare provider. The promotional review committee was comprised of the medical affairs group, the regulatory group, the legal group,” said Moskovitz.

Moskovitz also testified Johnson & Johnson continued to monitor drugs after they were approved, looking for side effects and a patient’s tolerance.

“The FDA gets all of the data so that they have the opportunity to review everything that we know about the compound,” said Moskovitz.

The state argues Johnson & Johnson created a public nuisance by misleading doctors about how addictive opioids are.