J&J Wins Reversal of Risperdal Penalty in Arkansas
On Thursday, March 20th, Johnson & Johnson won a reversal of their $1.2 billion penalty against their drug Risperdal in Arkansas Supreme Court.
In 2012, an Arkansas jury agreed that J&J and Janssen Pharmaceuticals misled Arkansas’s doctors regarding Risperdal’s safety. The judgment found that the pharmaceutical company engaged in “false or deceptive acts” regarding a 2003 letter touting Risperdal as safer than competing drugs. The letter was sent to more than 6,000 doctors across Arkansas, and J&J was fined $1.25 in penalties for the false claims, or $5,000 for each of 240,000 Risperdal prescriptions paid for by the state Medicaid program in a 3 ½ year period.
In a separate federal level act, the Justice Department settled an off-label Risperdal lawsuit with J&J for $2.2 billion, which resolved all criminal and civil allegations that the company promoted the powerful antipsychotic for inappropriate use, included in elderly dementia patients and young children. According to the original lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiary Janssen promoted Risperdal for off-label and unapproved uses between 1999 and 2005, such as controlling aggression in elderly dementia patients, as well as behavioral disturbances in children. Risperdal was approved in 1993, launched in 1994, and lost patent protection in 2008; the FDA did not approve pediatric use of the drug until 2006.
Now, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned the Verdict, agreeing with J&J’s filing from February that the state sued the pharmaceutical company using the wrong law, which normally only covers healthcare facilities.
“Janssen is indisputably not a healthcare facility and applying for certification or re-certification as described in the statute,” Associate Justice Karen Baker wrote for the court. “Hence, the statutory provision is not applicable.”
“I am disappointed that the court viewed the law differently,” Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said. “Nevertheless, I will keep working to protect consumers against fraud and the kinds of irresponsible and greedy actions shown by Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals in their marketing of the drug Risperdal.”
In January of this year, Johnson & Johnson had their $330 million penalty overturned in Louisiana. South Carolina also found Janssen and J&J guilty of violating consumer protection laws and fined the pharmaceutical manufacturer. In that personal injury case, off-label use of Risperdal has been linked to personal injury such as excessive weight gain leading to Type 2 diabetes. The pharmaceutical company is awaiting a ruling on an appeal in that state as well. While J&J has not filed in South Carolina court or said that they would try to overturn the penalty in the state, they could pursue the state-level penalty next.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Dangerous Drug Cases
The Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. is a leader in the consumer protection battle against dangerous prescription drugs and medical devices, like Risperdal. We represent individuals who have been killed or injured by dangerous or defective pharmaceuticals. If you or a family member have been injured or killed after using a dangerous drugs or medical products such as Risperdal, contact our dangerous drug lawyers as soon as possible so that we can begin taking steps to preserve evidence and your claim immediately. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800