Product News and Recalls

J&J hopes to avoid felony charge

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. Justice Department are close to settling a lengthy investigation into allegations that the company used illegal tactics in marketing its antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

The report cites unnamed sources who said the settlement would be one of the highest ever in a drug marketing case.

Federal law says drug makers can market medicines only for uses approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In exchange for avoiding a felony charge that could prevent Johnson & Johnson from selling its medicines to government health programs like Medicare, the two sides are allegedly discussing a payment of at least $1.5 billion.

In addition to the federal investigation, Johnson & Johnson is facing a number of lawsuits, state investigations and other probes of illegal marketing of Risperdal.

Johnson & Johnson is also facing widespread lawsuits alleging that the healthcare giant knowingly marketed dangerous medical devices, including DePuy Orthopaedics all-metal artificial hips and transvaginal mesh implants.

The DePuy Orthopaedics artificial hips were recalled in 2010 because nearly half of the patients who received them needed new implants within six years. They were prone to breaking down, causing severe pain and infirmity for patients. They also have a tendency to shed toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.

This month, the company recalled the vaginal mesh implants, used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The also had a high early failure rate, which caused them to poke holes in recipients’ pelvic organs, causing debilitating pain.

For years, according to the Wall Street Journal, Johnson & Johnson has faced probes and lawsuits over whether it illegally marketed Risperdal. The company has also faced investigations into whether it paid tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks to Omnicare Inc., a company that dispenses drugs at nursing homes, to boost sales of certain medicines. Omnicare agreed to pay $98 million settlement in 2009.

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.

See the Wall Street Journal article here: