AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and a Pennsylvania whistleblower have reached a $158 million settlement with a division of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) in a state district court lawsuit accusing the pharmaceutical manufacturer of using false marketing tactics to help influence Texas officials to spend millions of dollars on a schizophrenia drug.
The settlement in The State of Texas, ex rel Allen Jones v. Janssen, L.P., et al., No. D-1-GV-04-001288, was announced Jan. 19, 2012, in Judge John Dietz' 250th District Court in Austin, Texas, following just more than one week of testimony. The settlement represents the largest Medicaid fraud recovery in Texas history.
Attorney General Abbott and Pennsylvania whistleblower Allen Jones sued Johnson & Johnson's Janssen division in 2004 based on claims that Janssen engaged in a systematic and wide-ranging scheme to convince Texas Medicaid officials to give preferential treatment to the company's Risperdal medication. Mr. Jones uncovered the arrangement during his work as an investigator in the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General.
Mr. Jones was represented by Dallas attorney Tom Melsheimer and Austin attorney Tommy Jacks, both of Fish & Richardson. The state was represented by lawyers from the Texas Attorney General's Office.
"We are proud to have aided the courageous efforts of Allen Jones, a man who helped shine a light on the dark and corrupt practices that impacted taxpayers across Texas," says Mr. Melsheimer, lead counsel for Mr. Jones. "He uncovered a terrible effort to push a mind-altering drug on children at the most vulnerable time in their lives."
The settlement came during the middle of testimony from Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School instructor who testified that representatives from Janssen hid three studies where Risperdal patients developed diabetes even though the company denied that the medication caused the disease.
The lawsuit claimed Risperdal was no better and no safer, despite being substantially more expensive, than alternative medications that treat the same illness. Janssen worked to build revenue by actively and purposefully marketing the powerful antipsychotic drug for use in children, even though the medication was approved only for the very narrow purpose of treating adult schizophrenia, the lawsuit stated.
For more information on Mr. Jones' role in the case, please contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or [email protected].
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SOURCE Fish & Richardson