Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $2.2 Billion and plead guilty to a misdemeanor in a deal to settle a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the marketing of Risperdal and other drugs.
Prosecutors had pursued J&J for nearly ten years after a whistleblower brought evidence that the company had promoted drugs for unapproved and sometimes harmful uses in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Prosecutors allege that J&J promoted Risperdal, an anti-psychotic for boys suffering from mental disabilities, despite knowing that using Risperdal could raise levels of a hormone known to stimulate breast development.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference Monday that J&J “displayed a reckless indifference to the American people. [I]t constitutes a clear abuse of the public trust, showing a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to protect public health.”
J&J fined $2.2 Billion for Risperdal Marketing
The action against J&J follows other recent penalty agreements between the Justice Department and other Big Pharma companies accused of promoting medicines in ways that bilk government-sponsored health programs out of funds better spent elsewhere. In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion and plead guilty to criminal charges involving antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin, as well as the diabetes drug Avandia. In 2009, Big Pharma giant Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to resolve a drug-promotion and criminal investigation.
These cases all involve drug companies illegally promoting drugs for unapproved uses. The law requires that companies advertise their drugs only for uses approved by the FDA, although it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses.
Free Legal Consultation
Matthews and Associates Law Firm in Houston is pursuing civil action against pharmaceutical companies across the country, and is handling cases against the makers of Paxil and Wellbutrin, as well as cases for young boys who developed breasts after taking Risperdal. Call or email us for a free legal consultation now.