Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will fork over more than $1 billion to several states, including Arizona, and to the federal government to settle investigations that it improperly marketed its antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
The states and federal government were looking into this because even an otherwise safe medication can become a dangerous drug if it is marketed, sold or used improperly.
Risperdal received FDA approval in 1993 and became Johnson & Johnson’s best-selling drug. However, it has been claimed that Johnson & Johnson tried to boost sales even more by pushing for Risperdal to be used for things it did not have approval to treat, like dementia among the elderly. It was also promoted as a treatment for bipolar disorder and autism among teenagers and children before it received approval for those uses (which it did eventually).
The federal government started looking into claims that Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest maker of healthcare products, marketed Risperdal for unapproved uses all the way back in 2004. Louisiana was among the first few states to sue Johnson & Johnson over Risperdal marketing; it received $258 million in 2010.
A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson declined to speak to a reporter who was covering news of the settlement, but documents that the company has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission seem to indicate it has been working on this deal for a long time and set aside funds to make payments on the settlement according to Tuscon personal injury.