J&J ($JNJ) in talks for Risperdal marketing settlement

Is another off-label marketing settlement on its way? Perhaps, according to a regulatory filing from Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ). As Dow Jones reports, J&J disclosed that it's in negotiations with the government to wrap up an investigation of its Risperdal marketing. The antipsychotic drug was once J&J's top seller with almost $5 billion in sales in 2007--before it faced competition from cheap generics.

J&J's Risperdal marketing has been under investigation since at least 2004, when an inspector general subpoenaed documents about Risperdal sales and marketing, including payments to doctors. In 2005, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia added its own subpoena to the mix, Dow Jones says, asking for info on marketing and adverse reactions. A grand jury has also subpoenaed various witnesses.

If J&J makes a deal to resolve the Risperdal probes, it would join fellow antipsychotic makers Eli Lilly ($LLY)--which agreed to pay more than $1.4 billion for off-label promotion of Zyprexa--and AstraZeneca ($AZN), which settled off-label claims for about $520 million. Nor would a settlement be the first legal trouble involving Risperdal; the company has been fighting several state lawsuits as well.

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