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Johnson & Johnson Pays $2.2 Billion Risperdal Lawsuit Settlement

In November 2013, the United States Justice Department announced that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson would pay over 2.2 billion dollars in fines and criminal penalties for improperly promoting the antipsychotic drug Risperdal and 2 other medications. The agreement represented the 3rd largest pharmaceutical settlement in the history of the United States.

The Risperdal settlement was the culmination of a long effort by the government to hold Johnson & Johnson accountable for inappropriate marketing of its drug. The drug maker, government attorneys asserted, encouraged doctors to prescribe Risperdal for off-label uses, especially in the elderly, children, and the developmentally disabled.

Sales Reps Allegedly Promoted Risperdal For Off-label Use In Children

Risperdal received FDA approval for treatment of mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as treatment of irritability in autistic individuals. Johnson & Johnson was free to market its drug for these uses.

Instead, the drug company allegedly marketed Risperdal for so called “off-label” uses, or uses for which the drug had not been approved. Doctors are free to prescribe a drug for any purpose, including off-label uses, but drug companies are forbidden from promoting these additional applications.

Until 2006, Risperdal was not approved for use in children. However, Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, reportedly instructed its sales representatives to visit child psychologists and children’s mental health facilities to promote the drug’s use for treating conditions like ADD and OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder, for which it had not been approved. This marketing occurred despite reports that this drug may cause weight gain or breast growth when taken by children.

Johnson & Johnson Reportedly Encouraged Use Of Risperdal In Senior Citizens

The company is also accused of marketing its drug to senior citizens for treatment of dementia, another off-label use. Johnson & Johnson’s ElderCare sales force reportedly encouraged the use of Risperdal in these patients, even though it was suspected of increasing the risk of stroke. The company also allegedly paid kickbacks to doctors for prescribing its drug.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that J&J “recklessly put at risk the health of some of the most vulnerable members of our society—including young children, the elderly, and the disabled.” It is unknown how many of these vulnerable people may have experienced harmful Risperdal side effects.

If you or your child was prescribed Risperdal and suffered from gynecomastia, you may be eligible to receive a Risperdal settlement from Johnson & Johnson, the maker of this drug. Contact our experienced attorneys to learn more about your legal options: the consultation is free, and there are no legal fees unless you win compensation. Call 1-888-210-9968 today.

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