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Johnson & Johnson Fined $2.2 Billion by Justice Department

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The United States Department of Justice has announced that global health care company Johnson & Johnson will pay more than $2.2 billion in criminal and civil fees in a defective medications lawsuit alleging that the company marketed medications to improper audiences from 1999 to 2005. The judgment represents the third-largest health care fraud settlement in United States history.

Johnson & Johnson reportedly illegally marketed the antipsychotic drug Risperdal to older adults with dementia, people with developmental disabilities, and children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. They claimed that the medication could address symptoms in these patients such as agitation, confusion, impulsiveness and hostility.

According to the The New York Times, the company had repeatedly tried to expand the legal market for Risperdal into these markets soon after the drug was approved in 1993, but the Federal Drug Administration rejected their efforts. In fact, they government regulator only approved the medication for the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. In spite of this, the company actively pursued the market for these patients.

As part of the settlement in the case, Johnson & Johnson agreed to plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor, though it did not admit to wrongdoing in the civil portion of the settlement. That portion accused the company of paying kickbacks to pharmacists and doctors in exchange for filling and writing more prescriptions for the medication. The company agreed to pay criminal fines of $485 million and civil penalties of $1.72 billion, which settles accusations brought by 45 of the 50 states.

If you or someone you know has been prescribed Risperdal for an illness or disorder it was not approved for, do not wait. Contact an Illinois attorney experienced in defective medications and medical devices. We can help ensure that you receive any compensation that you may be entitled to for negative effects you may have experienced from the medication.

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