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J&J Planned Profit from Risky, Unapproved Uses of Risperdal

According to documents unsealed in relation to a lawsuit over off-label marketing of a dangerous drug, Johnson and Johnson planned to improve its market share for drugs used to control elderly dementia, a use not approved by the FDA. The plan was made just months after the company had already been criticized for marketing materials that overstated the benefits and minimized the risks of Risperdal for elderly patients.
Johnson & Johnson spokesman says the lawsuit “does not cite any evidence that Janssen [a division of Johnson & Johnson] made misrepresentations or engaged in off-label promotion of Risperdal and does not identify any connection between defendants’ alleged conduct and Louisiana doctors’ decisions to prescribe Risperdal rather than other drugs.” Instead, according to the United States Department of Justice, Johnson & Johnson paid illegal kickbacks to the nation’s largest nursing home pharmacy, Omnicare, Inc. to promote the drug and increase its market share.
In order to protect nursing home residents from medication abuse, a supposedly independent and impartial pharmacist reviews every resident’s medication regimen at least once a month, and has the power to recommend changes. According to a complaint filed in United States District Court in Massachusetts, Johnson & Johnson paid Omnicare to have its physicians to recommend that doctors move patients onto Risperdal, and, in exchange Omnicare got kickback money as the sales increased. In its defense, Johnson & Johnson describes its practice as a “rebate program.”
The use of Risperdal is potentially very risky, and should never be undertaken for mere profit. In addition to being illegal, these charges, if true, represent an egregious example of immoral conduct on the part of a drug company.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by an illegally promoted dangerous drug, please contact the pharmaceutical litigation lawyers at Schlichter, Bogard, & Denton to learn about your legal options.

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