Johnson & Johnson agreed to resolve criminal and civil probes into the marketing of Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug, and other medicines by paying more than $2.2 billion, one of the largest U.S. health-fraud penalties.
J&J’s Janssen unit will plead guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge over misbranding Risperdal for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including treating elderly patients with dementia. Under a plea agreement announced today, Janssen will pay a $334 million fine and forfeit $66 million.
Janssen also settled civil claims that it marketed Risperdal without approval for the elderly, children and the mentally disabled, and that it paid kickbacks to physicians and to Omnicare Inc., the largest pharmacy for nursing homes. The civil accord covered off-label marketing of Risperdal; Invega, another antipsychotic; and Natrecor, a heart drug.
“These companies lined their pockets at the expense of the American taxpayers, patients and the private insurance industry,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference today in Washington. 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.
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