Arkansas Orders J&J to Pay $1.1 Billion over Risperdal Marketing
Wednesday, April 11, 2012- An Arkansas judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $1.1 billion after a jury found that the company’s Risperdal marketing campaign violated the state’s consumer-protection laws. Specifically, the jury found that J&J downplayed and hid risks- diabetes and weight gain- associated with taking its antipsychotic drug.
Circuit Judge Tim Fox determined that J&J and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., committed nearly 240,000 violations of the state’s Medicaid fraud law — or one for each Risperdal prescription issued to state Medicaid patients over a 3 1 / 2-year period. Each violation carried a $5,000 fine, the state’s mandatory minimum amount, bringing the total to more than $1.1 billion.
Judge Fox issued an additional $11 million fine for more than 4,500 violations under the state’s deceptive practices act.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a statement, claiming that today’s verdict “sends a clear signal that big drug companies like Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals cannot lie to the [FDA], patients and doctors in order to defraud Arkansas taxpayers of our Medicaid dollars.”
Arkansas is one of several states who have sued J&J over its marketing of Risperdal, yet the Arkansas penalty is the largest to date against J&J. In 2010, jurors in Louisiana ordered the drug manufacturer to pay almost $258 million to state officials for making misleading claims about the drug’s safety. Less than a year later, in June 2011, a South Carolina judge upheld a $327 million civil penalty against the company. Most recently, in January 2012, Texas reached a $158 settlement with the company, which did not admit fault in connection with the settlement.
Shortly after the verdict, Janssen issued a statement indicating its intent to appeal the verdict, which would be heard by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The United Stated continues to investigate the sales practices of J&J and Janssen related to Risperdal, including allegations that the company marketed the drug for unapproved uses. “Johnson & Johnson needs to wake up and realize they are playing a losing game. They should be running, not walking, to the settlement table,” said Patrick Burns of Taxpayers against Fraud. “[The Department of Justice] offered a global settlement for $1.8 billion last month. I am not sure that deal is going to stay on the table after this.”
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 at 10:05 pm and is filed under False Claims Act, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.