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At higher doses, opioids can slow the user’s breathing, causing potentially fatal respiratory depression.
Most patients receiving more than a few weeks of opioid therapy will experience often prolonged withdrawal symptoms—including severe anxiety, nausea, headaches, tremors, delirium, and pain—if opioid use is delayed or discontinued.
Defendants deceptively marketed opioids to prescribers and consumers through advertising, websites, and in-person sales calls.
Defendants also relied upon continuing medical education (“CME”) seminars, non-credit education programs, treatment guidelines, and other publications and programs by patient advocacy groups, professional associations, and physicians that were flawed and misleading, but seemed independent and therefore credible. Through these efforts, Defendants were able to persuade doctors and consumers that opioids were not addictive, despite the previous medical consensus and scientific evidence to the contrary.
When using opioids continuously, patients grow tolerant to their analgesic effects—requiring progressively higher doses and increasing the risks of withdrawal, addiction, and overdose. Because the medical community recognized the dangers of opioid use, they originally used opioids cautiously and sparingly, typically only for short-term acute pain—where brief use limited the need for escalating doses and the risk of addiction—or for palliative (end-of-life) care. Consequently, the market for prescription opioids was sharply restricted.5.
As Purdue developed Oxy Contin in the mid-1990s, it knew that to expand its market and profits, it needed to change the perception of opioids to permit and encourage the use of opioids long-term for widespread chronic conditions, like back pain, migraines, and arthritis.
Stewart ID#: 028502007Acting Corporation Counsel City of Newark City Hall, Room 316Newark, New Jersey 07012(973) 733-3880 Andrew J.
D’Arcy ID# 044811996D’Arcy Johnson Day3120 Fire Road Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 08234(609) 641-6200 THE CITY OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff, vs. P., Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company; TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA, INC.; CEPHALON, INC.; JOHNSON & JOHNSON; JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; ORTHO-MCNEIL-JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.
(collectively “Endo”) manufacture, market, and sell prescription opioid pain medications, including the brand-name drugs Oxy Contin, Butrans, Hysingla ER, Actiq, Fentora, Opana/Opana ER, Percodan, Percocet, Zydone and Duragesic. While opioids can dampen the perception of pain, they also can create an addictive, euphoric high.Once doctors grabbed onto Defendants’ narrative, the consequence that doctors stopped worrying about signs of addiction or prescribing too high doses followed. In 2007, Purdue and three of its executives pled guilty to federal charges for misleading doctors, patients, and regulators about the risk of addiction and Oxy Contin’s potential to be abused.