Biotech and Pharma

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin slams state AG's lawsuit against J&J: 'These are political moves'

Key Points
  • "I'm not on board with just about anything that he does," Gov. Matt Bevin said of Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.
  • The attorney general is suing Johnson & Johnson for allegedly mischaracterizing the risk of opioid abuse and addiction.
  • "Does that topic need to be addressed? It does. But he's frankly not a competent attorney," says Bevin.
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Kentucky Governor Bevin: I'm not on board with JNJ opioid lawsuit

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin slammed his state's attorney general on Wednesday, telling CNBC he does not support the official's lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.

The suit, filed in court Wednesday, accuses the pharmaceutical manufacturer of devising a deceptive marketing scheme that mischaracterized the risk of opioid abuse and addiction.

"I'm not on board with just about anything that he does," Bevin said of Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

"Does that topic need to be addressed? It does. But he's frankly not a competent attorney," he added.

Bevin is a Republican and Beshear is a Democrat. Beshear recently filed a lawsuit against the governor in an attempt to overturn a pension reform bill Bevin signed into law.

In fact, Bevin says the attorney general sues him "repeatedly."

The lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson is Beshear's fifth to date seeking to hold a drug manufacturer or distributor responsible for its role in the national opioid epidemic.

J&J in a statement said that it marketed and promoted opioids appropriately and that its products' labels provided information about their risks and benefits.

"He aspires so much for political office," Bevin said on "Power Lunch," noting that Beshear's father was the state's previous governor.

"These are political moves. He does these for the headlines that he gets. They're not thoughtfully done. They're not well laid out."

However, he stressed that his comments refer to the way Beshear is "going about this" and "not at the broad level in the premise of them."

When asked to comment on Bevin's remarks, Beshear said Kentucky families strongly support his efforts to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for the "devastation they have caused."

"We lose four Kentuckians every day to a fatal overdose, and opioids have created more broken families resulting in more Kentucky children in foster care and kinship care than ever before. I am fighting for the future of our families, whether the Governor is on board or not," Beshear said in a statement to CNBC.

— Reuters contributed to this report.