Johnson & Johnson has been held accountable for overstating the safety of their antipsychotic drug Risperdal. Risperdal was intended to be used for the treatment of bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. A Judge in South Carolina has upheld the jury’s verdict of the $327 million. This award pales in comparison to the $3.4 billion that Johnson & Johnson made from the drug Risperdal.
The extreme profit made by Johnson & Johnson on Risperdal was allegedly done so through underhanded and backroom tactics. Johnson & Johnson has been in involved in lengthily litigation over alleged promotion of Risperdal for unapproved uses, illegal kickbacks, and other attempts to place Risperdal ahead in the market over competing antipsychotic medication. The promotion and marketing efforts of Risperdal are also the subject of numerous civil and criminal investigations.
One of the main goals of the numerous cases pending against Johnson & Johnson for the marketing of Risperdal is for reimbursement of Medicaid payments. In a whistleblower lawsuit, one former official is charged with accepting large gifts from Johnson & Johnson to fly around the country to persuade doctors in other states’ mental health and Medicaid programs to use Risperdal over competitors drugs. Numerous state’s Attorneys Generals are exploring undertaking similar litigation against Johnson & Johnson.
The original jury in the Spartanburg Court of Common Pleas found that Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc, which manufactures Risperdal, broke states law when they provided false and misleading information about the effectiveness and risk of Risperdal. The South Carolina Judge overseeing Johnson & Johnson’s request for a new trial or to overturn/amend the verdict denied their attempt to escape full responsibility for the harms and losses they have caused.
The $327.1 million dollar verdict was calculated as follows: $4,000 for each of 43,000 letters sent to doctors which provided misleading information on Risperdal, and $300 each for 509,000 packets sent without charge to doctors which contained misleading information on the drugs safety and effects.
This case illustrates the growing problem of drug manufactures creating a drug with a larger emphasis on profit than treatment. It is almost as if drug manufacturers create a drug first and then attempt to come up with what exactly it can ‘treat’. Then an obscure public marketing campaign begins which is packed with side effects and pleasant images. What is more disturbing is the cost benefit calculation which occurs within these companies where a certain portion of the profit is set aside to cover known future litigaiton costs. It is almost as if they say: Well, we are going to make 2 billion from this drug and it will certainly kill and harm a percentage of people who take it, so let’s set aside $250,000,000 for that and we will still make a profit of $1.5 billion.
This sort of pharmaceutical misconduct places the health and welfare of millions of people in jeopardy. If you have been harmed when taking Risperdal, contact a pharmaceutical injury lawyer today to discuss your rights.