HELENA, Mont. — Results of Risperdal litigation against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals continue to vary widely from state to state.
The antipsychotic drug’s manufacturers have most recently agreed to a nearly $6 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit in Montana.
The lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2008 by Montana’s Attorney General, alleges that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen knowingly marketed Risperdal for off-label, unapproved use despite knowing of the drug’s serious, permanent health risks. Although they settled the case, the drug manufacturers did not admit to hiding known dangers or doing anything wrong.
The Supreme Court of Louisiana recently overturned a nearly $250 million judgment against the Risperdal manufacturers in a similar case from 2010. In South Carolina, a $327 million Risperdal judgment against Johnson & Johnson was cut by over half to $136 million by the state’s Supreme Court recently.
Additionally, an Arkansas jury judgment against Johnson & Johnson for $1.2 billion for Medicare fraud was also recently thrown out by the state’s Supreme Court after Johnson & Johnson appealed.
This reversal came from a technicality and was not based on the merits of the case, however. The Supreme Court held that the suit was brought under a law covering healthcare facilities instead of drug manufacturers. One of the most notable litigation results came at the end of 2013 when Johnson & Johnson and Janssen agreed to a $2.2 billion settlement in a lawsuit with the United States Department of Justice.
The lawsuit dealt with multiple of the manufacturers’ drugs, but it specifically alleged that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen knew about Risperdal’s health risks but still marketed the drug to children for off-label use.
This settlement was even more important than the $5.9 million settlement in Montana because the drug manufacturers also pled guilty to a charge of promoting the drug for elderly dementia patients erroneously — though they did not plead guilty to falsely marketing their drug to children.
There are currently nearly 1,300 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals regarding Risperdal in Philadelphia, with nearly 1,000 lawsuits being filed in 2014 alone.
Risperdal cases also continue to mount in other states, with most of the claims alleging that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen were aware of the drug’s serious side effects, such as gynecomastia, or male breast growth, but they still marketed and promoted the drug for off-label use.
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