Subhash Sule of India’s CHS-Sachetan draws our attention to the resolution of the case against Johnson & Johnson
An Arkansas judge ordered J&J and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical to pay $2.2 billion to end civil and criminal investigations. They were alleged to have paid ‘kickbacks’ and fraudulently marketed pharmaceuticals for off-label uses. The case concerned anti-psychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega and the heart drug Natrecor:
- 1999 – 2005, J&J and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc promoted Risperdal for unapproved uses, including controlling aggression and anxiety in elderly dementia patients and treating behavioral disturbances in children and in individuals with disabilities, according to the complaint.
- Janssen’s sales representatives “aggressively” promoted Risperdal through a special “ElderCare sales force” targetting nursing home operators.
- The company paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to Omnicare Inc, the nation’s largest pharmacy specializing in dispensing drugs to nursing home patients, under various guises including “educational funding.
- In a separate civil complaint, the government alleged that J&J and its subsidiary Scios promoted its heart failure drug Natrecor as a weekly treatment for patients, despite no scientific evidence to support this approach.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that Johnson & Johnson’s conduct “recklessly put at risk” the health of children, dementia patients and others to whom the drug was prescribed at a time it was only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat schizophrenia adding:
“Through these alleged actions, these companies lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers, patients and the private insurance industry”.
Drug manufacturers have paid fines over the past decade for alleged improper marketing of several medicines. Pfizer Inc in 2010 agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle allegations it improperly marketed 13 drugs, including kickbacks to healthcare providers. Last year, GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve criminal charges that it improperly targeted its Paxil depression treatment to children, sold its Wellbutrin antidepressant for unapproved uses and failed to inform U.S. regulators of safety risks seen with its Avandia diabetes drug.
Sources:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/04/johnson-and-johnson-drug-marketing-charges_n_4212858.html http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/04/us-jnj-settlement-idUSBRE9A30MM20131104 http://www.businessinsider.com/jj-got-fined-12-billion-because-of-this-drug-2012-4#ixzz2kk0jk42C .