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J&J Delays Agreeing to Justice Dept. Settlement Over Risperdal Side Effects

Filed May 14th, 2013 Joshua Sophy

Johnson & Johnson is delaying a settlement it once agreed to over the allegedly deceptive marketing practices of some of its prescription drugs, namely the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, because it wants to avoid admitting any wrongdoing that could impact other lawsuits the pharmaceutical giant is facing.

The Wall Street Journal reports this week that J&J has put on hold its plans to agree to a $2.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over claims it illegally marketed several prescription drugs. The company is looking to avoid admitting wrongdoing in certain cases because it believes that admission could impact the results of personal injury lawsuits it faces over the drug Risperdal because it may cause certain side effects in children.

The Justice Dept. wants J&J to admit that it downplayed the risk Risperdal poses to children who take the drug. The company had submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that allegedly downplayed the risk that male children could produce a hormone that promotes breast growth and milk development, the Wall Street Journal reports.

That admission could have a major impact on the status of “several dozen” lawsuits J&J is facing from individuals who claim the company failed to warn of this side effect when the drug was prescribed to their children. The Justice Dept. is pursuing charges against the pharmaceutical giant, alleging the company illegally marketed Risperdal for use in pediatric patients prior to getting approval from the FDA.

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