Skip to Content

Get Your FREE Consultation


J&J Agrees to $2.2 Billion Settlement of Unlawful Marketing Claims

Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) has purportedly reached a settlement with the Justice Department which will have the healthcare giant paying $2.2 billion to resolve unlawful marketing claims. The settlement would include a criminal fine of approximately $400 million for the unlawful promotion of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The final total of the proposed settlement will depend on which states that have sued J&J sign on to the agreement. Details of the settlement will likely be announced within the next few weeks.

Under federal law, drug companies may only market prescription drugs for uses approved by the Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”). Physicians are permitted to prescribe drugs for unapproved (off-label) uses, but drug companies are prohibited from marketing drugs for those off-label uses. Pending cases by the federal government and various states accuse J&J of violating the law through improper marketing tactics.

Risperdal had been J&J’s top-selling drug with $2.2 billion in sales in 2007 alone, the year before the drug lost its patent protection in the U.S. The drug was approved for treatment of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar mania, and irritability in autistic patients. The unlawful marketing allegations against J&J accused the company of promoting Risperdal as a treatment for anxiety among patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, both unapproved uses. In addition to resolving claims of improper marketing of Risperdal, the proposed settlement would also resolve investigations into the promotion of Invega, another schizophrenia drug, and the heart-failure drug Natrecor, as well as an investigation of whether J&J improperly paid kickbacks to nursing home pharmacy operator Omnicare to boost sales of certain J&J medications to nursing home patients.

The proposed settlement involving J&J would follow a number of recent settlements of qui tam (“whistleblower”) lawsuits against drug companies. In early July, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve illegal drug marketing claims involving the antidepressant drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin and the diabetes drug Avandia. In 2009, Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to resolve unlawful promotion claims regarding the now-withdrawn painkiller Bextra and other drugs. Also in 2009, Eli Lilly agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle unlawful marketing drugs involving its antipsychotic medication Zyprexa.

No Win, No Fee

Review Us

Martin & Jones, PLLC logo

“Forest, once again, my family and I thank you for obtaining another settlement on behalf of my Father. It’s almost uncanny that these checks seem to come at very opportune times. This one comes as we are expecting our fourth grandchild. It will provide her some sound footing towards her future college education, plus help Mom and Dad with the medical expenses. Sometimes, I think my Dad is helping you guys with this. Maybe so. Anyway, thank you again for your hard work.”

Contact Our North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm

for a Consultation for Your Accident or Medical Malpractice Claim

Call us at 800-662-1234
No Win, No Fee

The law firm you choose makes a difference. If you are the victim of an accident or an illness that someone else caused, the North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has the depth of experience, skills and sensitivity to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Whether you have experience with the legal system or have never hired a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer before, our attorneys and staff will do our best to answer your questions, provide clear advice and prepare you and your family for what to expect. If you would like more information or to meet with one of our attorneys, please fill out the form below or call us at 800.662.1234.