European regulators are accusing Johnson & Johnson of illegally paying another company to delay the availability of a generic version of a product – in the process denying cancer patients access to a less expensive source of a drug that eases severe pain.
According to a story in the New York Times, the product at issue is a transdermal patch used to deliver the drug fentanyl through the skin. Antitrust authorities with the European Union say Johnson & Johnson made monthly payments to Swiss company Novartis, in exchange for Novartis keeping lower-cost versions of the fentanyl patches off the market in the Netherlands.
Johnson & Johnson is facing legal trouble over allegations of unethical behavior in the United States as well. In two separate trials, company officials are defending themselves against accusations that they allowed dangerous medical devices to be sold, despite being aware that they were putting thousands of patients at risk of debilitating injuries and even death.
A trial in New Jersey concerns transvaginal mesh implants used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, which have generated thousands of complaints of problems including infection, organ perforation and chronic pain.
And another trial taking place in Los Angeles deals with all-metal hip implants manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, which are prone to breaking down after only a few years and leaving toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.
The New York Times reports that agreements to delay the introduction of generic drugs have come under heightened scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years, with authorities in both Europe and the United States contending that they violate antitrust regulations.
You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns from a DePuy hip or transvaginal mesh implant. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a DePuy hip or transvaginal mesh lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
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