By Randy Ellis
NORMAN − Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter blamed Johnson & Johnson and its affiliates for helping cause the "worst manmade public health crisis in the history of our country" Tuesday as he delivered his opening statement in a trial where the state is seeking to have the opioid manufacturer's actions declared a public nuisance.
"Greed" was the motive, Hunter said.
Johnson & Johnson attorney Larry Ottaway vehemently disputed Hunter's claims.
Ottaway said Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries went to great lengths to develop products that were difficult to abuse before putting them on the market.
Monitoring surveys show those products − Duragesic patches, Nucynta and Nucynta ER − have low rates of abuse and diversion, but they are not commonly prescribed in Oklahoma because the state requires prior authorization for their use in its programs, he indicated.
Other manufacturers' products such as hydrocodone and oxycodone are much more easy to abuse and are commonly diverted, but the state doesn't require prior authorization for the prescription of those cheaper drugs, he said.
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