head of Suboxone mafia: testified at J&J opiate crisis trial

Opioid epidemic expert testifies drug companies used front groups


NORMAN — Johnson & Johnson and other opioid manufacturers used a “web” of front groups and paid physicians to push for more liberal prescribing of opioids, an expert witness on the nation’s opioid epidemic testified Wednesday.

Helping orchestrate the campaign was a group called the Pain Care Forum, said New York City psychiatrist Andrew Kolodny.

Kolodny referred to the group as the “opioid mafia” and described it as a collaboration of officials from Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma LP and other opioid manufacturers and advocacy groups.

Drug manufacturers and front groups that were part of that group continued their marketing push even after opioid deaths had skyrocketed and it had become obvious that the overprescription of opioids was causing a public health crisis, he testified.

“They were going to do everything they could to block cautious opioid prescribing,” Kolodny said.

Kolodny spent all afternoon on the witness stand Wednesday during Day 12 of what is expected to be a two-month Cleveland County District Court trial in a case where Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries have been accused of creating a multibillion dollar public nuisance.

The companies are accused of helping cause an opioid epidemic that led to thousands of Oklahoma opioid deaths and addictions through false or misleading marketing efforts that understated the risks of addiction and overdose death associated with opioids, while overstating their benefits.

Kolodny testified that two advocacy groups, the American Pain Society and American Academy of Pain Management, touched off the nation’s opioid crisis in 1996 when they published a paper that promoted the idea that “pain is often managed inadequately despite the ready availability of safe and effective treatments.”

That paper “blew a hole” through the dam of conservative prescribing practices that physicians had followed with opioids for more than a century, Kolodny said.

Kolodny testified that opioid manufacturers have funded many “front groups” over the years that have masqueraded as grassroots organizations that support more liberal prescribing of opioids to treat pain.

He identified the American Pain Foundation as one such organization and talked about a chart that showed it had received more than $5 million from pharmaceutical companies, including $635,000 from Johnson & Johnson.

Kolodny cited numerous examples of messages put out by various advocacy groups and opioid manufacturers that have claimed untreated pain is a major problem in the United States.

Over the years, various groups have contended that anywhere from 34 million to 116 million Americans suffer from untreated pain, but there is no objective data to support any of those numbers, he said.


10 Responses

  1. I bet Kolodny and Sackler put their heads together and figured out how to profit from the epidemic of despair and denial in the US. It is no accident these two are NY Psychiatrists, that is a small community and they know each others work very well. It is not as if these two operated under any ethical considerations. Sackler was instrumental in getting rid of the laws that used to protect Americans with health issues.

    We had laws against marketing to sick people, because they were considered vulnerable and easy to mislead. Now all we have is marketing to go on, in making health decisions. These industry insiders infiltrated our regulatory boards rendering them useless. These industries took over academia too, funding only research that was good for their marketing. There has not been any critical look at the research, they amplify in mass media, or the academic institutions funded with industry money.

    Maybe the facts will come out in court, but the media will misreport them again. After all we live in the era of alternate facts!

  2. This man is a LIER and expert of NOTHING. I Certainly hope this jury sees through his BS, and researches him.

  3. Kolodny and his predecessors failed to reign in any of this, or identify the marketing of not only opioids, but the treatment industry. Back in the early 2000s, they featured people with serious addiction problems on reality TV. It was snot only entertainment for the masses, but they advertised expensive beach front addiction treatment centers. when some of these people died, they merely canceled the reality show. None of these anti opioid crusaders spoke up when various industries undercut the ACA. Industry insiders profited from denying treatment to low income people, while advertising treatment centers where people died or were treated like commodities.

    Kolodny and his predecessors chose to ensure profits and turned the so called opioid crisis into a marketing opportunity. They made the situation worse, by creating reality TV shows, and allowing deceptive marketing. It is no coincidence that the very year they claim the opioid industry started their deceptive marketing campaign, is the same year they allowed direct to consumer ads for prescription drugs. There used to be laws protecting patients from deceptive advertising, the industry did away with them.

  4. This guy promotes Suboxone…What a hypocrite…and to slander groups that stand for those in intractable pain…Theres a place for him.

  5. Sooo kololdny,,,I guess Shatterproof isn’t a ,”front” group for cash for addiction lies,,,,false addiction data,,,stealing money from grieving mothers,,,,It is exactly the same kolodny has done w/this false addiction madness,,,he is the front,,,he is the mafia for addiction,,,,lLieing to the feds to get federal contract for phoenix house over thee entire east cost,,,Kolodny is callen the kettle black,,,for he has done the very same,w/his addiction bullshit,,,,he is a BILLONAIRE off of his addictions lies,,,,Furthermore,,,he tortures’ ,killed,murders 1,0000 of medically ill w/physical pain,,,This guy has Hitlers soul,,,,,,maryw

  6. Patient groups need to fight back hopefully by suing him. He insinuated that their purpose was simply to push opioids. He also companies pushed a narrative that patients could stay on meds longer than they should but we know FDA turned down PROP petition. His testimony is garbage. Most people on LTOT are receiving that treatment because their pain will never go away.

  7. wait…Perdue was successfully convicted in court? Wasn’t a settlement reached?If so why didn’t J & J apposing council not object if there was no conviction?

  8. Didn’t the beneficial rise in treating under-treated pain simply parallel the rise in smuggled and deadly fentanyl?

  9. This man is obviously clueless!

  10. I can’t even look at a picture of this reincarnation of Goebbels without needing my promethazine…

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