After an Arkansas jury found that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) company officials misled doctors and patients about the risks of one of their drugs, a judge ruled that JNJ must pay more than $1.1 billion in fines. The drug was an antipsychotic medication called Risperdal. The jury had concluded that J&J’s marketing of this particular drug violated both Medicare fraud laws and Arkansas’s deceptive trade practices statutes.
The judge in the case, The Honorable Tim Fox of Arkansas, found “J&J and its Janssen unit committed more than 238,000 violations of the state’s Medicaid fraud laws by illegally marketing Risperdal over an almost four-year period starting in 2002.” The Judge sentenced each violation to a $5,000 fine, raising the total to over $1.1 billion.
This judgment is the largest of the three J&J state cases alleging J&J hid Risperdal’s risks and tricked Medicaid regulators into paying more than they should have for the medicine. Eleven state attorneys general have sued J&J to date relating to the Risperdal sales practices.
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