New York 3/7/2014 11:01:43 PM
News / Law

Arkansas Supreme Court Hears Appeal Over $1.2 Billion Risperdal Marketing Fine, Reports is reporting that the Arkansas Supreme Court heard arguments from Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. over a $1.2 billion fine assessed to the companies following a Risperdal marketing lawsuit from 2012. During the hearing, lawyers for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen argued that the attorney general wrongly accused the companies of fraud. Attorneys for the plaintiff, however, said that the companies did commit fraud when they failed to provide the public with adequate warnings for the drug’s alleged risk of gynecomastia, a disease that causes boys to develop breasts.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2007 by Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, alleged that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen deceptively marketed Risperdal for off-label uses, misled Arkansas doctors, and improperly reimbursed patients for Risperdal prescriptions that were paid for by Medicaid. In 2012, a jury found the companies guilty of fraud, and the court fined them $5,000 for each of the 240,000 Risperdal prescriptions the state’s Medicaid program paid for during the previous three-and-a-half years. Additionally, the companies were ordered to pay $2,500 for each of the 4,500 letters sent to Arkansas doctors promoting the use of Risperdal. The grand total was a $1.2 billion fine – the largest of its kind in state court history, according to the Associated Press.

On February 28, 2014, the Arkansas Supreme Court heard an appeal from Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. Attorneys for the defendants argued that the state wrongly pursued the pharmaceutical companies under Arkansas’s Medicaid fraud statute, because the companies neither took part in fraud nor provided patients with improper reimbursements for Risperdal prescriptions; however, attorneys for the plaintiff refuted this argument, saying that the companies did commit fraud because they marketed Risperdal for off-label uses and failed to properly communicate risks associated with using the drug.

Johnson & Johnson and Janssen are currently facing similar claims outside of Arkansas, with more than 200 lawsuits alleging that the companies knew or should have known that Risperdal could put patients at risk for serious side effects, yet failed to provide the public with warnings for these risks. If you or someone you love used Risperdal and suffered from gynecomastia or other adverse side effects, you may have legal recourse. For more information on the Risperdal cases and to see if you may be able to file a lawsuit, visit today.


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