Half Billion Dollar Verdict against Johnson & Johnson Verdict from the perspective of Chronic Pain Patient Barby Ingle

By Barby Ingle

It is extremely important to have opiates available for those in need and it’s not a simple matter of pharmaceutical companies being all bad and responsible for all bad things that happen to society. I am a chronic pain patient who has been mistreated, undertreated, overtreated and misdiagnosed by medical professionals and specialists through the years.

I watched the entire seven weeks of trial and hoped that the judge would get this right. I do not believe that the judge got it right. This verdict against Johnson & Johnson because they have the funds to take from, but what about the providers, pharmacies, insurance company practices, FDA, DEA, and all of the people who are abusing the drugs and medications. This verdict shows that the pain patients in America are once again being forsaken for the lives of the addicts. Both need to be addressed addiction and chronic pain.

Do I think that this funding is going to make a difference? No, I don’t. We have already seen many patients commit suicide because they were cut off from medications that were helping them cope with life and manage their pain. To many insurances’ companies won’t cover the other treatments and for some patients who have tried those treatments and failed, opioid was the only thing that was keeping them going. Now we see a rise in the suicide rates, we see that addiction challenges are still high and the problem is coming from? Illegal Drugs.

This OK verdict distorts the public nuisance law beyond recognition and does take away options and choices from pain patients. This is the start, there are 2000+ suits coming up starting in October who will now use this new president of law as a way to weaponize against pharmaceuticals.

• What about a person’s responsibilities?
Researching the medications and asking questions to your provider and pharmacist, when it comes to deciding if this treatment option is viable for you.

• How is the manufacturer of the opioids guilty, but the doctor, the pharmacy and the patient who chose to abuse the drug are not accountable for their own actions?
Is it because we can’t sue poor people for their actions?
We are not helping them either. This funding will not change the stigma or culture of or addiction and is not holding the people who need the most accountability for their actions to any reasonable standard.

• Why force these pharmaceuticals into settlements? We need the industry to keep working on treatments.
Less than 5% of the 7,000 rare diseases have any treatment options available. Are these lives less valuable than the addict’s life?
Just heard on the news Purdue Pharma is considering a multi-billion-dollar settlement and chapter 11 and restructuring of their company. Why force an industry that saves millions of lives to do this?

• The CDC Quietly Admits It Screwed Up Counting Opioid Pills – The data used by the state of OK in the court was incorrect and not corrected by J&J or the State Attorneys. The judge made decisions based on false information.

• The CDC Advises Against Misapplication of the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Again, this was not brought up in the trial.

• Insurance companies are already using tactics such as step therapy, prior authorization stall tactics, etc. This is being done in both addiction and chronic pain patient communities. Saving the insurance millions of dollars, yet they are not being held accountable for delaying and denying care.

I for one hope that Johnson & Johnson appeals for the sake of the pain patient community and for the sake of all who need pain medications be it for an acute situation such as large kidney stones passing, or shattered pelvis or a disease such as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Arachnoiditis, Sickle Cell, or Lupus.

I don’t believe that the opioid pharmaceutical industry stared, fueled or conspired to create the largest public health crisis of our time. I don’t believe that this is an epidemic. It may be an endemic, addiction does affect millions but the help to those millions has not even been provided fully. Grants given by our government, including for President Trumps’ opioid initiatives for addiction haven’t even been fully set up, spent to be able to make a difference and that was done more than 2 years ago now.

As a chronic patient who works to help other chronic patients, I can say that it is up to the providers and pharmacists to tell us about the risks associated with opioids. They do in many cases. But again, where is the responsibility of the patient. We as chronic pain patients want to have all options on the table. We don’t want to blame one area of failure on the mistreatments of patients across our country by everyone involved. It is going to take a multi-modality approach that will have to start with human behavior and people being responsible for their own actions to make a difference in getting the care we all need for any health condition we are facing. We all need to stop forsaking one life for another.

Barby Ingle is a best-selling author, reality personality, and lives with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), migralepsy, endometriosis and other pain disorders. Barby is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and president of the International Pain Foundation

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