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Johnson & Johnson, through its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has been on the receiving end of many a Risperdal lawsuit, usually stemming from the way it has marketed the antipsychotic drug to doctors across the country.
Finding that the company made misleading claims in a series of promotional letters and understated the drug's risks, a state judge in South Carolina has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $327 million in fines.
That's $4,000 per violation.
In this specific Risperdal lawsuit, the state sued Johnson & Johnson under the South Carolina Trade Practices Act, alleging that in 2003 it sent a misleading letter to doctors stating that the drug was better than competitors, reports Bloomberg.
They also claimed that packaging on drug samples understated Risperdal's risk for diabetes.
The company has vowed to appeal, stating that it did not mislead doctors, and claiming that a drug's warning label couldn't possibly be misleading if it has received FDA approval, notes Bloomberg.
Johnson & Johnson's representative seems to have forgotten a key bit of information.
Apparently, in 1999, the FDA told the company that its Risperdal marketing materials improperly overstate the drug's benefits and minimize its risks, which it considers to be in violation of labeling and advertising rules.
If the federal government warns a company that it is running afoul of regulations, barring extreme circumstances, the proper action is to stop engaging in such activity, not continue as though the warning wasn't given.
Johnson & Johnson seems to have made the wrong choice, and now must suffer the consequences of yet another Risperdal lawsuit.
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