January 12, 2016 — The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the last appeal by Johnson & Johnson to overturn a $124 million penalty for illegally marketing Risperdal in South Carolina.
Reuters reports that the drug-maker appealed the verdict, calling it an “excessive fine.” The appeal was made with the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest pro-business political lobbying groups in the country.
Johnson & Johnson has been fighting the verdict in South Carolina since 2011, when a jury ordered the company to pay $327 million for marketing violations. The company successfully lowered the judgement to $124 million in June 2015.
The lawsuit accused Johnson & Johnson of downplaying the risks of Risperdal and aggressively promoting it as superior to cheaper generics without evidence. As a result, state Medicaid programs paid more money for a new drug with dangerous side effects.
Other states have settled similar allegations for far less. For example, a $1.2 billion verdict in Arkansas was reduced to just $7.75 million. An average of $4.89 million was paid out to each of 36 states and D.C., according to Law360.
The company is still facing over 1,000 lawsuits from young men who took Risperdal as children and grew enormous breasts — a disfiguring condition called gynecomastia. Last November, a jury awarded $1.75 million to a boy from Maryland with gynecomastia. In February, a boy with size 46DD breasts was awarded $2.5 million by a jury in Philadelphia.
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