Johnson & Johnson has been negotiating terms of a multibillion dollar settlement over aggressive marketing of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal with federal authorities for at least two years, and now it is hung on talk over breasts, The Wall Street Journal says.
Federal prosecutors sued the Swiss drugmaker, accusing it of offering "disguised" kickbacks to pharmacies for switching patients to one of its drugs. And switch they did, the prosecutors say.
Maverick states could cost Big Pharma big money. Though many drugmakers have wrapped up marketing settlements with the federal government--and states willing to go along--they're now facing claims from state attorneys general who are bold, stubborn, ambitious, or all of the above.
Will the U.S. Supreme Court buy pharma's argument that cash settlements don't keep generic drugs off the market unduly long? Or will the justices agree with the Federal Trade Commission, which calls such patent settlements anticompetitive?
Allergan more than two years ago paid $600 million to settle with the government for marketing Botox for off-label uses like spasms in children. But the settlement did not completely extricate Allergan ($AGN) from litigation.
Johnson & Johnson appears to be in settlement mode. It has knocked off some more pending litigation, having settled about 25% of the 3,400 lawsuits it faced tied to the dangers of taking antibiotic Levaquin. The settlements come after it recently negotiated settlements related to its aggressive marketing of antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
Amid the all the numbers in Pfizer's ($PFE) third-quarter earnings announcement, the drugmaker disclosed one particularly newsworthy figure: A $491 million charge for a Rapamune marketing settlement. As Dow Jones first reported, the company made a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve the longstanding probe, which Pfizer inherited when it bought Wyeth in 2009.
In the first half of 2012 alone, a record year for both federal and state financial recoveries, there were $5 billion and $1.6 billion in settlements, respectively. Three of the 10 largest settlements and judgments in the 20-month period were single-state settlements. The report's researchers were unable to determine what prompted some states to take actions individually, and while federal penalties still make up the bulk of the cost to pharma, aggressive states have clearly added to the litigation risk for drugmakers.
Three plaintiffs settled their lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ)/DePuy over health problems they say stemmed from the failure of the company's metal-on-metal hip implants.
There appears to be a slight tremor in the heretofore unyielding force field of support by the Forest Laboratories board for its octogenarian CEO Howard Solomon.