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Texas AG Sues JNJ Over Risperdal Misrepresentation/Fraud


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Austin American Statesman

January 9, 2012


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is pitted against one of the largest multinational pharmaceutical companies in a trial starting this week that could bring the state more than $1 billion - one of its largest potential awards since a multibillion-dollar tobacco settlement in 1998.


Abbott is charging that Johnson & Johnson Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical LLC and five other related companies defrauded the state in a "sophisticated marketing scheme" that caused the Texas Medicaid Program to pay too much for Janssen's schizophrenia drug Risperdal, the lawsuit says.


The state also questions the companies' marketing practices and alleges that the companies misled state health officials about the drug's effectiveness, the risk of side effects and its suitability for pediatric use.


The trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today in Judge John Dietz's 250th state District Court in Travis County.


The drug companies have denied the allegations in court documents and in a statement issued last week.


"Janssen is prepared to vigorously defend itself against these claims," the company said. "We are committed to ethical business practices and have policies in place to ensure that our products are only promoted for their FDA-approved indication. If questions are raised about adherence to our marketing and promotion policies, we act quickly to investigate the situation and take appropriate disciplinary action."


Texas got involved with Risperdal litigation about six years ago, when Abbott's office joined a lawsuit filed by corporate whistle-blower Allen Jones, who is a former employee of the office of the inspector general of Pennsylvania.


Jones has questioned the process for how Risperdal was approved in Texas and how that information was used by other states in their approval processes.


Jones filed suit in 2004 after his investigation in Pennsylvania led him to examine the companies' track record in Texas. As a whistle-blower plaintiff, he alleged that the companies overcharged the states and overstated the drug's effectiveness.


Risperdal, approved by the FDA in 1993, was one of Johnson & Johnson's top-selling drugs. Sales dropped off when Risperdal got generic competition in June 2008. Originally, the drug was only approved for adults, but later the FDA allowed it for children and the elderly.


Texas' case alleges that the drug companies prevented state health officials from receiving "truthful information about the safety, efficacy, appropriate uses and cost-effectiveness of Risperdal."




The lawsuit says that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries employed suspect tactics in order to sell Risperdal in the public sector, which promised to be especially lucrative. Eighty-five percent of Risperdal's revenue was projected to come from the public sector, because schizophrenic adults tend to be poor and uninsured.


"Understanding the need to obtain significant government buy-in to achieve their financial goals for Risperdal, defendants set their sights on a state with one of the largest Medicaid populations in the country - Texas," according to the filing by the state and Jones.





"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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It is 10 PM here and what a lovely bed time story. Thank you Alex!

Withdrew cold turkey from six medications: Celexa, Zyprexa, Depakote, Ativan, Ambien and Phentermine in 2002. It has been 10 years since I told polypharmacy to take a hike and have joined this forum to let others know that success is possible and to hopefully save people from experiencing the suffering that I did under psychiatric "care".




"TENSION is when we try to be who we think we should be, RELAXATION is when we are who we really are."

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More stories to come

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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