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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - (Mealey's) An Arkansas state court judge on
April 11 assessed a $1.1 billion penalty against the Ortho-McNeil-Janssen
Pharmaceuticals Inc. subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson for thousands of
violations of state trade practice and Medicaid fraud laws, sources told Mealey Publications (State of
Arkansas v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. CV07-14345, Ark.
Cir., Pulaski Co.).
On April 10, a jury in the Pulaski County Circuit Court found
that Ortho-McNeil-Janssen violated state laws through false and deceptive promotion
of the atypical antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
The penalty was determined by Judge Tim Fox.
A spokesperson for Ortho-McNeil-Janssen told Mealey Publications, "We are
disappointed with the judge's decision on penalties. We will consider our
options for appeal after the judge has ruled on our post-trial motions."
The spokesperson said that the company "presented abundant
evidence showing the Company acted responsibly and fully complied with all laws
and regulations regarding its antipsychotic prescription medication
Risperdal. In contrast, the state did
not show any Arkansas patient was ever harmed by using Risperdal, that any
Arkansas physician or Arkansas Medicaid was ever misled by the drug's label or
package insert, or that the State ever paid for a Risperdal prescription
that was not properly written and eligible for reimbursement."
The spokesperson said that "during the entire period at question
in the trial, Arkansas Medicaid spent a total of $8.1 million on prescriptions
Dear Doctor Letters
In 2007, Arkansas sued Ortho-McNeil-Janssen, alleging that the
company violated state laws when it sent a 2003 letter to Arkansas doctors about
Risperdal's safety compared to competing atypical antipsychotic drugs.
The trial began March 27.
The jury began deliberating April 10 and returned its verdict the same
State court juries in Louisiana and South Carolina have found
that Ortho-McNeil-Janssen violated state law through Risperdal letter to
doctors. Those verdicts are on appeal.
In January, a trial in Texas state court ended with a $158
Other State Allegations
States have alleged that marketing of Risperdal as superior to
competing drugs, for off-label uses and without disclosing the risks of extreme
weight gain or diabetes resulted in state Medicaid programs paying for
prescriptions they otherwise might have avoided and for paying to treat the
Arkansas was represented in the Arkansas trial by Fletcher
Trammel of Bailey Perrin Bailey in Houston.
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