Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug made by J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceutical unit, has been linked to an increased risk of strokes and death in elderly patients with dementia. In children, Risperdal is associated with medically serious weight gain, type-2 diabetes, and the development of male breasts (gynecomastia).
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel sued the drug-makers for defrauding the state Medicaid program by promoting Risperdal for “off-label” use and failing to warn about its side effects.
The original lawsuit sought $5,000 in damages for each of nearly 600,000 prescriptions reimbursed by Medicaid over 13 years. Lawyers successfully reduced that to a 3.5-year period, for a total of $1.2 billion.
The Arkansas Supreme Court threw out the $1.2 billion judgement after determining that that the law only applies to healthcare facilities — not pharmaceutical companies. The court also threw out over $100 million in attorneys’ fees for the state.
J&J has also successfully overturned a $258 million award in Louisiana. A $327 million penalty in South Carolina is being appealed. Last November, J&J agreed to pay $2.2 billion to the Justice Department to resolve civil and criminal allegations involving illegal Risperdal marketing.