CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma - The defense in the state’s opioid trial called a former employee to the stand to testify about the literature Johnson & Johnson provided to healthcare providers. 

The state maintains Johnson & Johnson downplayed the addictiveness of opioids, leading doctors to over-prescribe them.

Retired Doctor Bruce Moskovitz headed Johnson & Johnson’s medical affairs department. He testified materials given to medical providers about how addictive opioids are were accurate. He quoted a statement from the Food and Drug Administration.

“Studies have shown that proper managed medical use of opioid analgesic compounds taken exactly as prescribed is safe, can manage pain effectively and rarely causes addiction,” said Moskovitz.

Drew Pate, an attorney hired by the state asked Dr. Moskovitz, “You’re sitting here today saying in the midst of an opioid crisis, the worst public health crisis here in Oklahoma, man-made, that there’s not an overprescribing problem of opioids?” 

Moskovitz replied, “I think what I said was an individual who is properly selected and properly educated would have a low risk of developing problems with those opioids.”

The state argued Johnson & Johnson’s literature was far too vague to be accurate.

“I believe for the last day and a half you sat in that chair and said the exact same thing that your company said for the past 20 years that started this mess in the first place,” Pate told Moskovitz.

The trial resumes Monday, July 1.