J&J Settles Risperdal Mktg Case With 36 States: Seems Cheap Compared to Facing Trials
In an effort to resolve a mountain of litigation over the marketing of its antipsychotic medications, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has agreed to pay $181 million to resolve claims by 36 states that for promoting the Risperdal and Invega pills for unapproved uses. The settlement, which includes the District of Columbia, comes shortly before the health care giant is expected to pay as much as $2.2 billion over the same allegations by the feds involving these and other drugs (see previous Pharma news).
The deal comes after J&J (JNJ) suffered setbacks in several states where off-label marketing charges went to court. In April, an Arkansas judge fined the health care giant $1 billion, just three months after J&J agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general and just a few days of blistering courtroom testimony that placed its marketing practices in a harsh light (see previous Pharma news).
And last year, J&J was ordered by a South Carolina judge to pay $327 million for deceptive marketing, which he called detestable (see previous Pharma news). Two years ago, a Louisiana jury ordered J&J to pay $257.7 million in damages for making misleading safety claims, and $73 million in legal fees were later added. As a result of these losses, J&J was widely expected to reach a deal with the states were outstanding litigation existed.
“We have chosen this path to achieve a prompt and full resolution of these state claims and to ensure we continue to focus on our mission of providing medicines to meet the significant unmet needs of many people who suffer from mental illness,” Michael Yang, who heads the Janssen Pharmaceuticals that sells the antipsychotics, says in a statement. J&J, however, “strongly disagrees with many of the allegations and the characterizations of the evidence in the states’ complaints,” a spokeswoman writes us.
As part of the settlelment, J&J agreed to not to promote either Risperdal or Invega by highlighting use for selected symptoms instead of diagnoses; misusing continuing medical education programs for marketing; awarding grants to doctors based on their prescribing habits; presenting info and study conclusions that are not scientifically sound, or presenting them in ways not supported by the underlying study; or disseminate reprints containing off-label usage info (here is the complaint filed by the New York Attorney General).
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