An Arkansas jury has found that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., downplayed and hid that the side effects of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, effects that could have caused a “$200 million swing in revenues” if the pharmaceutical company would have warned about them, Businessweek reported.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said the billion-dollar lawsuit was filed to prevent “fraud and deceptive trade practices.” In a news release, McDaniel said, “Today, an Arkansas jury confirmed that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals lied to patients and doctors because they cared more about profits than people. I am grateful for the jury’s verdict and its decision to hold the defendants accountable for their actions.”
Janssen argued that it did not break the law, claiming the FDA approved the label for the drug. “Janssen firmly believes it did not violate the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act or the Arkansas consumer fraud statute. Among other concerns, we believe the dissemination of an FDA-approved package insert did not constitute a violation of any Arkansas law. It is our position that an individual state should not penalize a pharmaceutical company for using an FDA-approved package insert or decide for itself whether a company complies with FDA rules,” the pharmaceutical company said in a statement.
Circuit Judge Tim Fox will decide the penalty in a separate hearing. McDaniel is seeking nearly $1.2 billion in fines for the nearly 250,000 prescriptions the Arkansas Medicaid program paid for.