March 11, 2014 — Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit have agreed to pay $5.9 million to settle a Risperdal lawsuit in Montana. The case was filed in 2008 by the state attorney general, Tim Fox, who accused the drug-makers of using misleading and illegal marketing tactics to market Risperdal.
In the lawsuit, the state of Montana alleged that Janssen concealed risk information about Risperdal, while claiming that it was suitable to treat children, the elderly, and people with intellectual disabilities. Prosecutors presented evidence that patients on Risperdal could experience severe weight gain, type-2 diabetes, gynecomastia (male breast growth), and strokes.
Janssen did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, but agreed to make no misleading claims and present balanced information about the risks and benefits of its products in the future.
Montana will use the settlement in the following ways:
- $1.5 million to hire a public education specialist and create a program to combat prescription-drug addiction.
- $1.5 million to the Montana Mental Health Trust for mental health services and programs.
- $675,000 to consumer protection education
- $825,275 to reimburse the state Department of Public Health and Human Services for Medicaid money they spent buying Risperdal.
- $1.4 million in legal fees for the state.
In November 2013, J&J and Janssen agreed to pay $2.2 billion to resolve civil and criminal claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice involving illegal marketing of Risperdal and two other drugs. Lawyers alleged that Janssen knew Risperdal posed risks in children, including gynecomastia, but instructed sales representatives to market Risperdal in children despite warnings from the FDA. Many of the claims are similar to allegations raised by hundreds of plaintiffs who developed Risperdal gynecomastia (male breast growth) after using the anti-psychotic drug.
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