Johnson & Johnson will pay $2.2 billion in criminal and civil fines as a settlement to a lawsuit accusing them of promoting the antipsychotic drug Risperdal to children, older adults, and people with disabilities. As the third-largest pharmaceutical settlement in the history of the United States, Johnson & Johnson agrees to pay the fines for illegally marketing drugs to individuals, despite the health risks and side effects.
Risperdal was once one of Johnson & Johnson’s top selling drugs grossing $3.1 billion in sales during 2004. Accusations were made by 45 states that the company was improperly promoting Risperdal to older dementia patients in nursing homes despite the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) repeatedly rejecting the drug‘s use for geriatric patients. While the company claimed Risperdal, or the generic drug risperidone, could help symptoms such as agitation, confusion, and impulsiveness, they downplayed the fact that the drug was only approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia. Furthermore, it is reported that Johnson & Johnson knew Risperdal could have serious side effects on older patients, such as an increased risk of strokes, but it minimized those warnings and even created the sale company ElderCare to promote the drug to doctors.
The lawsuit also claims Johnson & Johnson promoted the antipsychotic to children and those with mental disabilities. Prosecutors state that the company’s sales representatives visited child psychologists to promote the drug as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder in children, even though the company knew that children could be vulnerable to health risks.
Johnson & Johnson acknowledged that it improperly marketed the drug for other treatment options without FDA approval as a criminal misdemeanor and will pay $485 million in fines and $1.72 billion in civil penalties.
If you or a loved one have suffered serious health issues because you were not properly warned of a drug’s side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. Burnetti, PA’s product liability attorneys in Lakeland, Tampa, and Orlando may be able to help. For more information, call 1-888-BURNETTI or click here to fill out a free personal injury case evaluation form.