Johnson & Johnson said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that federal investigators in Atlanta are examining the company's sales tactics, including payments to health-care providers, for its opioid painkillers, Nucynta IR and Nucynta ER.
J&J filed its second quarter financial report (10-Q, here) on Friday. The item on the subpoena is on page 34. J&J's Janssen Pharmaceuticals makes Nucynta and got the subpoena from the Atlanta regional Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
The OIG is "seeking production of documents and information regarding: (1) the sales, marketing and promotional practices, including the remuneration of healthcare providers, related to Nucynta IR and Nucynta ER; and (2) any studies, reports and/or complaints regarding the safety and/or actual or potential side effects of Nucynta IR and Nucynta ER."
J&J said it is responding to the subpoena.
Opioid painkillers can be highly addictive. Accidental overdose deaths have passed those caused by illegal street drugs cocaine and heroin.
Federal agencies, including several branches of the Justice Department, have focused on trying to stop so-called pill mills. These are often store front operations, which proliferated in Florida. When authorities came down on such operations in Florida, the pill-mill crowd moved north to Georgia.