Product News and Recalls

J&J reportedly plans $2.2 billion settlement

Bloomberg reports that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay as much as $2.2 billion to settle federal government investigations into claims that the company illegally marketed antipsychotic drug Risperdal and other medications.

The report quotes unnamed sources as saying the settlement will include a misdemeanor plea and a criminal penalty of as much as $600 million.

But that wouldn’t be the end of Johnson & Johnson’s legal troubles. The company is also facing lawsuits alleging that it intentionally marketed harmful medical devices that injured thousands of people, including DePuy Orthopaedics all-metal artificial hips and transvaginal mesh implants.

The agreement would settle allegations that the company illegally marketed Risperdal, heart-failure drug Natrecor, and the antipsychotic medication Invega. It would also settle civil claims that J&J paid kickbacks to Omnicare Inc. (OCR), a company that dispenses drugs at nursing homes.

The federal government and a total of 11 states have filed suit against Johnson & Johnson, accusing the company of using deceptive tactics to market Risperdal. Those tactics allegedly included misleading doctors about the drug’s risks and improperly touting it for unapproved uses, leading the federal government and the states to overpay from Medicaid and other taxpayer-supported funds.

According to Bloomberg, the $2.2 billion settlement won’t resolve suits brought by attorneys general in Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina, where the company appealed or said it will appeal judgments over Risperdal sales. Judges or juries in those states have ordered J&J to pay a total of about $1.8 billion in damages and fines over Risperdal marketing campaigns that were found to have misled doctors and patients about the drug’s health risks and effectiveness.

Johnson & Johnson is dealing with the fallout from a disastrous string of recalled medical devices and medications.

This month, the company announced that it is discontinuing production of four varieties of vaginal mesh implants – used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse – after widespread complaints of injuries including debilitating pain and organ perforation.

And the company recalled its all-metal line of hip implants in 2010 because of complaints that a high number were failing after only a few years, and leaving toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns from a Johnson & Johnson product. 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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