Bloomberg: J&J's Risperdal settlement to top $1B

Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) long-awaited Risperdal marketing settlement is set to top $1 billion, Bloomberg's sources say. If so, that would put it in third place among off-label marketing probes, behind Pfizer's ($PFE) record $2.3 billion and Eli Lilly's ($LLY) $1.4 billion—and, like its rivals' similar deals, would amount to a fraction of one year's worth of product sales.

In J&J's case, a $1 billion Risperdal deal would equal about 31% of peak sales. "Discussions have been ongoing in an effort to resolve criminal penalties under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act related to the promotion of Risperdal," J&J said in its August SEC filing (as quoted by Bloomberg). "The ultimate resolution of the above criminal and these civil matters is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the company's financial position."

Whether that's enough to deter marketing infractions is up for grabs, but in any case, the settlement would allow J&J to close the books on several long-running investigations into Risperdal sales practices. As Bloomberg reports, many states would be part of the newly negotiated deal. An agreement on criminal charges hasn't yet been reached, and presumably the settlement won't be announced until that bit is wrapped up.

Other states—including South Carolina, where J&J faces $327 million in damages—opted out. In Texas, for instance, jury selection in a Risperdal marketing suit begins next week, and that state's attorney general is asking for $1 billion. A Louisiana jury, meanwhile, awarded $257.7 million to that state in a Risperdal case.

- read the Bloomberg story