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Johnson & Johnson Said to Be Nearing Record Risperdal Settlement

Filed June 21st, 2012 Laurie

Johnson & Johnson is close to reaching a settlement of $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion with Department of Justice prosecutors over allegations that its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, used false marketing tactics to sell its schizophrenia drug Risperdal. An agreement is expected to be reached in a couple of weeks.

A tentative $1 billion settlement was rejected by federal prosecutors in March, who are pushing for a stiffer settlement of $2 billion.

Johnson & Johnson is also seeking to avoid a felony charge that would prevent it from marketing its drugs to government health programs like Medicare.

Risperdal was J&J’s top-selling drug until it lost its U.S. patent protection in 2008. New Jersey-based Janssen is alleged to have used unlawful means between 1999 and 2004 to convince Medicaid health program officials to spend millions on the drug. Janssen focuses on mental health and other prescription medications for the treatment of schizophrenia, autism, and other disorders.

J&J has also been investigated for promoting off-label uses of Risperdal and another schizophrenia drug known as Invega to nursing home pharmacy operators and nursing home residents by bribing them with millions of dollars. The drugs have been improperly promoted as treatment for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. Risperdal had also recommended the antipsychotic as a treatment for children, even though it is approved for adult use only.

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