January 14, 2016 — The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Johnson & Johnson’s appeal of a $124 million verdict for improperly marketing the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
The drug-maker called the verdict an “excessive fine.” According to Reuters, the appeal was backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the wealthiest pro-business lobbying group in the nation.
The dispute dates back to 2011, when a jury in South Carolina ordered the drug-maker to pay $327 million for marketing violations. Last June, the state Supreme Court lowered the amount to $124 million.
Dozens of other states filed similar lawsuits, but Johnson & Johnson successfully negotiated to pay less than $5 million to each of 36 states and D.C., Law360 reports. A massive $1.2 billion jury verdict in Arkansas was reduced to just $7.75 million.
The verdicts still pale in comparison to the $2.2 billion settlement the company was ordered to pay the Justice Department in November 2013. Johnson & Johnson was accused of using aggressive and illegal tactics to promote Risperdal over cheaper and equally-effective generic drugs. As a result, state Medicaid programs paid significantly more for brand-name Risperdal than they should have.
The drug-maker was also accused of misleading doctors about side effects like gynecomastia, a condition that causes young men to develop large breasts. More than 1,000 lawsuits have been centralized in Pennsylvania.