J&J to pay states $181M to resolve Risperdal cases

In what is probably a prelude to the much larger settlement that Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has indicated it has hammered out with federal authorities, the company said today that it has reached a settlement with 36 states and the District of Columbia over the marketing of antipsychotic drug Risperdal that tops $180 million.

J&J agreed it won't promote the drugs in the future for off-label uses, but says it is not admitting it did anything wrong (even though juries and courts have found that it did). It says it chose to settle so that it can put the matter behind it. The settlement is actually with its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary. It has lost cases in Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina, where it has been ordered to pay about $1.8 billion in damages and fines over Risperdal. The company is appealing those verdicts.

As Bloomberg points out, Janssen aggressively pitched Risperdal for such things as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, depression and for use in children, even though it was not approved for those uses.

J&J said in a public filing last month that it has reached a deal in principle with federal authorities. It has been reported that settlement could reach $2.2 billion. It says today that settlement involves allegations of misdeeds involving Risperdal, Invega and the heart-failure drug Natrecor, as well as kickback allegations involving Omnicare ($OCR). The deal reportedly also includes a $400 million fine but leaves J&J the ability to continue to sell drugs to government programs like Medicare.

- here's the release 
- and the Bloomberg story

Special Report: Johnson & Johnson - Risperdal, Invega, Natrecor, Levaquin, Procrit - Pharma's Top 11 Marketing Settlements