J&J appeals $1.2B Risperdal marketing fine

Johnson & Johnson has officially protested a $1.2 billion fine for mismarketing a blockbuster antipsychotic. In its ongoing fight against Risperdal marketing allegations, the company ($JNJ) appealed the Arkansas ruling, citing laws against "excessive fines," Bloomberg reports.

That the $1.2 billion fine is enormous is no question. It's about triple the amount Department of Justice officials reportedly are considering. Last week, The Wall Street Journal cited that amount in the latest update on J&J's forthcoming Risperdal marketing settlement. The entire deal is said to amount to up to $2.2 billion, including arrangements with several states--none of them, obviously, nearly so big as the Arkansas penalty.

The Arkansas penalty also dwarfs other state fines. The next-largest Risperdal-related fine came last year in South Carolina, where a judge ordered $327 million in deceptive-marketing fines. A jury in Louisiana levied a $258 million penalty. J&J has appealed both of those rulings, too.

To get an idea of how much J&J has deemed reasonable, consider its settlement with the state of Texas. The company agreed to pay $158 million to settle a Risperdal marketing suit filed by the Texas attorney general.

Arkansas officials say they're confident the verdict will stand. The attorney general had claimed that J&J not only misled doctors and patients about Risperdal's risks and benefits, but touted the drug for uses not approved by FDA. "We anticipated that the defendants would appeal," spokesman Aaron Sadler told the news service.

- read the Bloomberg story

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