By Joe Messa
Three judges in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal have ruled to uphold a nearly $258 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson. The decision will require Johnson & Johnson to pay the state of Louisiana for defrauding the Medicaid program by misleading doctors in the state about the possible side effects of Risperdal, an anti-psychotic medication.
According to arguments made by Louisiana’s attorney general’s office, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. unit violated a state law against misrepresentation and fraud in its marketing practices of Risperdal. The original decision was made in 2010 by a St. Landry Parish jury.
Evidence showed that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen sent letters to more than 7,500 doctors and made more than 27,000 phone calls that improperly claimed Risperdal was safer than other competing medications and minimized Risperdal’s link to diabetes.
Johnson & Johnson has announced a settlement with 36 states in connection with complaints about its marketing for Risperdal. The company is expected to pay $181 million as part of the settlement agreements.
According to studies the company hid from the Food and Drug Administration, Risperdal can cause diabetes. Internal company records revealed that executives were aware of the link between Risperdal and diabetes. In addition to their knowledge, Johnson & Johnson’s salespeople falsely marketed Risperdal claiming it was superior to rival drugs in sales calls with doctors and saying the drug had not been linked to diabetes for more than a decade.
Court witnesses have testified that Johnson & Johnson discovered that about half of the patients taking Risperdal developed diabetes within a year of taking the drug as early as 1999 when a study compared the risks of Risperdal to a similar antipsychotic drug. The study concluded Risperdal caused “medically serious weight gain” leading to the development of diabetes. The company failed to release results of that study and two others studies that later found similar personal injury risks associated with the drug.
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving pharmaceutical and medical device injuries. Our extremely skilled team of personal injury lawyers and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you have been injured by a defective pharmaceutical drug or medical device, a negligent medical provider, or have endured any other type of personal injury, contact the personal injury lawyers of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More