The city of Chicago is planning a lawsuit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the Duragesic pain patch, and several other makers of opioid painkiller drugs. The Duragesic patch is a generic version of the fentanyl pain patch, which is also manufactured by several different companies.
According to documents filed in Cook County, Illinois, Chicago officials are seeking to recover prescription drug costs for painkiller medications that were prescribed to city employees and retirees. The city alleges that drugmakers such as Janssen made false claims about the danger and effectiveness of narcotic painkillers like fentanyl, costing the city millions of dollars in health care expenditures.
Lawyers with a class action law firm retained by the city have filed a subpoena to compel Janssen to turn over internal documents related to the lawsuit. The documents include marketing materials involving fentanyl and other opioid painkillers manufactured by the company.
The city’s subpoena was issued as part of an investigation to determine whether companies such as Janssen made false claims that their powerful painkillers could safely and effectively treat chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain and arthritis, despite a lack of evidence that they could do so. Officials are also investigating whether opioid manufacturers understated the risk of addiction and other side effects associated with the use of these drugs.