Louisiana Prevails in Pharmaceutical Marketing Case

October 19, 2010

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced that a jury returned a jury verdict in the amount of $257,679,500 against Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. and its parent company Johnson & Johnson for violating the state’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law (MAPIL).

The AG’s office reported that the jury found that in 2003 & 2004 Jansen and J & J made misrepresentations minimizing its drug Risperdal’s link to diabetes in order to obtain funds from the Medicaid program.

Under MAPIL the attorney general is charged with the duty to protect the fiscal and programmatic integrity of the medical assistance programs from companies that engage in fraud, misrepresentation, abuse, or other ill practices to obtain payments to which they are not entitled.

Attorney General stated, “This verdict sends a loud message to those who knowingly try to defraud the system. Those who deceive the state must pay.”

The state alleged that J & J and Janssen sent “Dear Doctor” letters to more than 7,500 Louisiana health care providers stating that Risperdal was safer than other competing brand name antipsychotic drugs, and made more than 27,000 similar marketing calls. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration previously warned J & J that it made false and misleading claims that minimized the risk of diabetes associated with Risperdal and overstated the drugs supremacy to rival medicines.

The Opelousas jury imposed a penalty of $7,250 for each of the 35,542 violations of the state’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law.

The case is: James D. “Buddy” Caldwell” Attorney General ex rel State of Louisiana v. Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc. et al ; docket no. 04-C-3967-D 27th Judicial Court; St Landry Parish, Louisiana.

Source: Louisiana Attorney General’s Office

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