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A dozen years ago, the federal government came down hard on Purdue Pharma, fining the drugmaker and three of its executives a record $634 million for misbranding its blockbuster OxyContin pill as safer and less addictive than other painkillers.

Plaintiff attorneys argue that drug manufacturers continued the aggressive marketing even after the Purdue fine. New details about the marketing campaigns are revealed in the corporate documents and internal emails unsealed in the Cleveland case after a year-long legal fight by The Washington Post and the owner of the Gazette-Mail in Charleston, W.Va.

Drug manufacturers paid doctors and movie stars to promote more aggressive pain treatment. The companies also created campaigns for their sales forces, tying bonuses to opioid sales and holding contests to reward top earners.

As the marketing campaigns unfolded, representatives from industry-funded groups that advocate for pain patients fanned out across the country to speak on TV shows, at conferences and dinners and to doctors at continuing medical education seminars, the court documents show. The groups included the American Pain Foundation and the American Pain Society, which have since gone out of business.

Drug manufacturers have rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments. They said that their sales and marketing teams did not misrepresent the safety of opioids.

But, last August, a judge in a lawsuit in Oklahoma ruled that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen had engaged in “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns.” The company also provided incentives for its sales force. The company produced a PowerPoint presentation that promised prizes for those who sold the highest amounts of Nucynta, an extended-release opioid. The prizes included a Caribbean cruise, “His and Hers” Tourneau watches and a Sony home theater system.

In its statement, Johnson & Johnson said, “In the Oklahoma trial, the State did not produce a single doctor who testified that they were misled by a Janssen marketing communication.”

Oklahoma Judge Thad Balkman ultimately ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $465 million to abate one year’s worth of damage done by opioids in the state. The company is appealing.

The first case in the Ohio lawsuit, involving Summit and Cuyahoga counties, was recently settled for more than $325 million by multiple drug companies, including McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. The remaining 2,500 cases, as well as lawsuits filed by most of the state attorneys general, are still pending.

In the Ohio case, the newly unsealed documents delve deep into the marketing strategies of the companies.

Former FDA commissioner David A. Kessler, a paid expert for the plaintiffs, said in a recently unsealed deposition in the Cleveland case that this “highly sophisticated” and overwhelming marketing of opioids “changed American medicine.”

The efforts “range from regional advisory boards to the speaker’s bureaus, to the e-marketing to doctors, to the alternative channels, to the advocacy groups, to the unbranded publication plans,” Kessler said, referring to materials that did not disclose they were funded by drug companies.

Kessler said that the paid appearances on television and at conferences usually featured the highest-prescribing doctors and were meant to transform the public perception of opioids and encourage other doctors to prescribe them more freely.