Johnson & Johnson Fined $2.2 Billion: Marketed Risperdal For Off-Label Use

By Marilyn T. McGoldrick, Esq.

Posted on Nov 15, 2013

Although only approved by the Food and Drug Administration for certain patients with specific psychiatric disorders, Johnson & Johnson marketed Risperdal for a variety of non-approved, “off label,” uses. This marketing resulted in widespread use of Risperdal by individuals with other mental health issues.

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson has now agreed to pay over $2.2 billion to settle civil and criminal probes over its marketing practices for its once best-selling drug. This civil settlement involved the U.S. Justice Department and 45 states. It resolved three lawsuits brought by a team of four whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.

The antipsychotic Risperdal was approved in 1993 for the treatment of psychotic disorders in adults. J&J’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals also decided to market Risperdal as a treatment for schizophrenia, acute mania, and bipolar disorder. Among the off-label uses, the drug was prescribed for elderly patients suffering from dementia (see last year’s Boston Globe’s two-part series on this practice). It was also later approved for use on children with behavioral problems.

The allegations against Johnson & Johnson included off-label marketing (meaning uses not approved by the FDA) and kickbacks to doctors and pharmacists, including Omnicare Inc., the largest nursing home pharmacy. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the misbranding of the drug for uses not approved by the FDA.

This is the third highest fine paid by a pharmaceutical company. In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion and plead guilty to criminal charges regarding its antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin, and the diabetes drug Avandia. Pfizer, in 2009, paid a fine of $2.3 billion to resolve an investigation into the marketing of painkiller Bextra and other drugs.

Nonetheless, the threat of such larges payments have had little effect on the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing practices. It seems that the enormous profits to be earned from off-label marketing still outweigh the threat of civil and criminal charges years down the road.

How can Thornton Law Firm attorneys help you? We’ve represented victims of defective drugs and medical devices for three decades. Thornton Law Firm attorneys also represent whistleblowers in off-label marketing cases under the False Claims Act. Share your story with us by calling 1-888-341-1405, or click this link to send us your information so we can give you a free and confidential evaluation of your case.

Thornton Law Firm Wins $2 Million Settlement For Construction Worker

By David J. McMorris, Esq.

Posted on March 29, 2013

Thornton Law Firm recently negotiated a 2 million dollar settlement for a 51 year-old client who was seriously injured in an 18 feet fall at a construction site in Massachusetts. The client suffered multiple fractures and nerve damage.

The general contractor and roofing contractor had cut a hole in the roof of the building, and covered it with an unmarked, unsecured sheet of plywood, in violation of OSHA safety regulations.

The case was filed at the Suffolk County Superior court, MA, and settled shortly before trial.

In addition to the settlement amount of $2,000,000, Thornton Law Firm was able to negotiate a waiver of a $300,000 workers’ compensation lien, so that our client would not have to reimburse the workers’ compensation insurer for his comp benefits. The client was represented by Thornton Law Firm lawyer David J. McMorris.

Thornton Law Firm attorneys have handled serious personal injury and products liability cases for our clients since 1978.

If you or a loved one has questions about your rights after an injury, call Thornton Law Firm to speak to an attorney experienced in handling serious personal injury cases. One of our lawyers will provide you with a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-888-491-9726 or tell us your story using our online contact form.

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