Day 18: Johnson & Johnson Attorney Questions Whether State Opioid Expert Is Really An Expert

Thursday, June 20th 2019, 5:57 pm

Day 18 of the state’s opioid trial brought an expert on addiction to the stand. But attorneys for Johnson & Johnson argue the state’s expert isn’t much of an expert at all. 

Oklahoma is suing Johnson & Johnson for its alleged role in the opioid epidemic, seeking billions of dollars to address damages from the drug crisis and to pay for the state’s abatement plan. Thursday, June 20 we heard from an expert at OSU about part of that abatement plan.

Doctor Julie Croff heads the OSU center for Wellness and Recovery. That’s the program that received $200 million of the state’s $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma in a deal struck by State Attorney General Mike Hunter without the knowledge of the legislature or governor. 

Read Related Story: Oklahoma Opioid Lawsuit Settlement To Fund OSU Recovery Center

Thursday, Croff testified the state will need millions of dollars to treat college students addicted to drugs for, "At a minimum for 20 years but preferably for 30. This has been a long-standing cultural change on collegiate campuses."

Croff also wants funding for ongoing training for medical providers.

"These topics should include pain information and pain management; opioid management; non pharmacological and non-opioid therapies. Addiction and mental health. Overdose. And critical appraisal of medical evidence,” said Croff.

But an attorney for Johnson & Johnson pointed out, Croff has little experience with opioid addiction and treatment.

Attorney Amy Fisher asked Croff, "Prior to 2018 you have never created continuing medical education relative o opioids, correct?” 

Croff responded, Correct.”

Fisher asked, "Your research efforts were not directed towards opioids, correct?”

Again, Croff answered, “Correct."

And Fisher asked, "You don't have any formal training in the treatment of opioid abuse or opioid addiction, correct?”

Croff again responded, “Correct."

Johnson & Johnson lawyers wrapped up, arguing Fisher can't place the blame for the crisis squarely on the shoulders of the health-care giant.

"You can't tie the need you believe exists for the licensed drug and alcohol counselors to any wrongful conduct by Janssen or Johnson & Johnson, can you?” Fisher asked.

Croff replied, “No."

See Also: ‘He’s Never Treated Chronic Pain Patients’: Protestors At Opioid Trial On State’s Expert Witness

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