March 11, 2014 — Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, will resolve allegations that they illegally marketed the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal (risperidone) by paying $5.9 million to settle a Risperdal lawsuit in Montana.
The lawsuit was filed in 2008 by Tim Fox, the state attorney general. It is the latest in a string of settlements Janssen has paid — including $2.2 billion to the U.S. Department of Justice — to resolve civil and criminal allegations that Risperdal was illegally marketed “off-label” to children, the elderly, and people with intellectual disabilities.
Janssen has admitted no wrongdoing, but they have agreed not to market their drugs with misleading claims or imbalanced information about risks and benefits.
The bulk of the $5.9 million settlement will go toward public service programs, including $1.5 million for programs aimed at fighting prescription drug abuse and $625,000 for consumer-protection programs. Another $1.5 million will be used for mental health services programs. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services will be reimbursed $825,275 for money they used to reimburse Risperdal prescriptions. The rest of the settlement, totaling more than $1.4 million, will pay for legal fees.
Janssen is facing similar legal claims in hundreds of individual lawsuits, many of which were filed by men who took Risperdal as children and developed gynecomastia (breast growth). Prosecutors with the Justice Department accuse the drug-maker of instructing sales representatives to target child psychiatrists and mental health facilities to promote Risperdal in children, despite warnings from the FDA and numerous studies linking Risperdal to serious side effects in children.