Justice Department, New York officials subpoena J&J over opioid sales and distribution

Johnson & Johnson disclosed two new opioid subpoenas in its latest quarterly filing with the SEC. (J&J)

Johnson & Johnson has disclosed its latest round of investigations, and this time they include a grand jury subpoena from federal prosecutors.

In its latest quarterly filing with the SEC, J&J unveiled two subpoenas seeking information about its opioid distribution and sales. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York issued a grand jury subpoena in August for documents and info on the company's “anti-diversion policies and procedures" and its distribution methods. J&J said the request was part of a broad investigation of the industry's opioid practices.

The next month, the New York State Department of Financial Services subpoenaed the company as part of a review of how opioid prescriptions affect health insurance premiums in the state, J&J said in the filing.


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“The company is cooperating with NYDFS’s inquiry and producing documents in response to the various subpoenas and requests for information,” the filing said.

RELATED: J&J’s third-quarter profits take $3B hit with massive opioid settlement 

The investigations add to J&J's opioid-related legal load, including thousands of lawsuits from cities, counties and states alleging the company played a role in the nationwide opioid addiction epidemic. Earlier this month, J&J proposed a $4 billion settlement to wrap up a load of lawsuits gathered in Cleveland and restated third-quarter earnings to reflect a related $3 billion charge against profits.

In August, an Oklahoma judge ordered the company to pay $572 million after a trial over the state's claims. J&J opted not to settle its dispute with the state even after Teva and Purdue inked deals to avoid the trial. The company has pledged to appeal that loss.

RELATED: J&J’s third-quarter profits take $3B hit with massive opioid settlement 

And it's not the only time J&J has received subpoenas from federal authorities so far this year. In February, the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission probed the company over its public statements in defense of talcum powder products.

J&J faces about 16,800 talc lawsuits and recently recalled one lot of its iconic Johnson's Baby Powder. After that recall, several national retailers pulled all their bottles from shelves.

The drugmaker is also defending against claims of harm from its antipsychotic med Risperdal and other products; a jury recently awarded $8 billion to one man who grew breasts while taking Risperdal. J&J plans to appeal that verdict.


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