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Risperdal maker faces additional exposure (in hundreds of millions of dollars) for illegal marketing

In 2010, a Court in Louisiana awarded the State 257.7 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson, for its illegal marketing of the drug. In 2011, a South Carolina judge ordered the company to pay $327 million dollars because of its illegal marketing efforts in that state.  Two weeks ago, the company agreed to a one billion dollar civil settlement with the federal government over the latter's claim that Risperdal was marketed illegally.  This week a trial started in Texas over that state's claim that Johnson & Johnson owed more than one billion dollars in false marketing damages.    Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug that was never approved by the FDA for treatment of children or the elderly.  Despite that limited approval, courts and experts have determined that the manufacturer lied about the drug's efficacy and encouraged physicians to prescribe it for unsafe and unproven purposes.  Cases are also pending in seven additional states.  Cases in two states are on appeal, including a 330 million dollar judgment in Louisiana. There are also approximately 500 individual injury claims pending against the company.

Risperdal was once the company's best selling dru, generating sales in excess of 24 billion dollars from 2003 to 2007 when it lost patent protection. Profit margins were apparently pretty good, as the South Carolina judge concluded that Johnson & Johnson's profit on the drug was 97 percent of total sales.  Other competing manufacturers have paida total of2.66 billion dollars to resolve similar government marketing claims.

The Texas allegations against the manufacturer include claims that it paid $340,000.00 to Texas state mental health employees to promote the drug.  They also include claims that sales representatives were making marketing calls on doctors who only treat children--despite the company's claim that it did not market the drug for use with children or the elderly.  The Complaint filed in Texas includes specific facts that seem unlikely to be false, for example the allegation that the company's sales representatives called on one child psychiatrist a total of 96 times.

Michigan citizens won't be recovering any of their hundreds of thousands of mis-used tax dollars from the companies who defrauded our taxpayers:  Michigan Republicans passed the only law in the nation that grants immunity to drug manufacturers if their product was approved by the FDA.  They can safely lie, cheat, steal or bribe in our jurisdiction, apparently.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262