CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma - Former sales representatives for Johnson & Johnson were called to testify by the pharmaceutical giant Tuesday in the state’s opioid trial. And those witnesses were hammered by the state. 

Johnson & Johnson, a subsidiary of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, tried to paint a picture of its sales reps as highly trained pain management experts who worked to educate doctors about their medications. The state tried to shoot holes in that.

“We believe that we have good products. And we believe our products have potential benefits for appropriate patients. We seek to go out every day and educate clinicians in a compliant manner in fair balance with our FDA approved package insert and answer any questions physicians have,” testified Johnson & Johnson Senior District Manager Jason Flanary.

“We don’t have the ability to go in and see customers on a consistent basis by deceiving customers or giving them false or misleading information. I’m proud of the work that my people do and I’m proud of the work that Jansen does,” continued Flanary.

One of the state’s hired attorneys, Reggie Whitten, responded, “How many hours or days did you spend rehearsing your testimony for today?” 

Flanary answered, “Sir, I don’t recall the exact number of hours.” 

Whitten pressed, “I see. You’ve answered every question. I heard every single question Mr. Brody asked you, you knew the answer. But you don’t know the answer to that one? The exact number of hours? Yeah, this is an unrehearsed question.”

Johnson & Johnson also called former rep Drue Diesselhorst to the stand, and the state went after her too.

“Ma’am, it’s true that you weren’t actually educating the doctor about how to treat a patient, right?” Attorney Brad Beckworth asked.

Diesselhorst replied, “I felt that I was educating the doctors about the drug that I was promoting.”

“What are the cardiac considerations given for elevated no receptor levels?” Beckworth asked.

“I don’t remember that,” responded Diesselhorst.

“What is serotonin syndrome?” Beckworth asked.

“I don’t remember that,” Diesselhorst answered.

“Do you know what causes it?” Beckworth asked.

“I don’t remember that,” Diesselhorst answered.

“Have you been instructed to say I don’t remember?” Beckworth finally asked.

Beckworth told the judge, “I’ve never in my career and I’ve had a 23-year one that spans coast to coast, I’ve never seen a company that tries to hide the truth more than this one. Ever.”