1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
    PLEASE HELP

Johnson & Johnson Pays Out Billions For Wrongful Promotion of Psychiatric Drug Use

Rating:
4/5,
  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay over $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company promoted powerful psychiatric drugs for unapproved uses in children, seniors and disabled patients, the Department of Justice announced on Monday.

    The allegations include paying kickbacks to physicians and pharmacies to recommend and prescribe Risperdal and Invega, both antipsychotic drugs, and Natrecor, which is used to treat heart failure.
    The figure includes $1.72 billion in civil settlements with federal and state governments as well as $485 million in criminal fines and forfeited profits.

    The agreement is the third-largest U.S. settlement involving a drugmaker, and the latest in a string of legal actions against drug companies that allegedly put profits ahead of patients.

    In recent years, the government has cracked down on the pharmaceutical industry's aggressive marketing tactics, which include pushing medicines for unapproved, or off-label, uses. While doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines for any use, drugmakers cannot promote them in any way that is not approved by FDA.

    "Every time pharmaceutical companies engage in this type of conduct, they corrupt medical decisions by health care providers, jeopardize the public health, and take money out of taxpayers' pockets," said Attorney General Eric Holder, in prepared remarks at a news conference.

    In its plea agreement, J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals admitted that it promoted Risperdal to nursing home doctors and nurses to control erratic behavior in seniors with dementia. That use is explicitly barred in the drug's warning label because of the risk of stroke and death in elderly patients.

    Antipsychotic drugs are known for their sedative effects and are occasionally used to treat post-traumatic stress and sleep disorders, though those uses have never been approved by the FDA.

    In a separate civil complaint, the government alleged that J&J and Janssen also promoted the drug as a way to control behavioral problems in children and the mentally disabled.

    The drugmaker allegedly downplayed Risperdal's side effects while also paying kickbacks to the nation's largest long-term care pharmacy to recommend the drug to prescribers. The off-label prescribing of Risperdal contributed to millions of dollars in federal and state spending by health programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

    "Through these alleged actions, these companies lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers, patients and the private insurance industry," Holder said, adding that the company's alleged conduct "put at risk the health of some of the most vulnerable members of our society — including young children, the elderly and the disabled."

    Both state and federal governments are spending more than ever on prescription drugs, as Medicare and Medicaid swell with aging baby boomers. That increased spending has attracted scrutiny from prosecutors looking to recover taxpayer dollars.

    Last year British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline paid a record $3 billion in fines to settle criminal and civil violations involving 10 of its drugs. In 2009, Eli Lilly & Co paid $1.42 billion to settle similar allegations that the company promoted its antipsychotics Zyprexa for seniors with dementia.

    The agreement is the third-largest U.S. settlement involving a drugmaker, and the latest in a string of legal actions against drug companies that allegedly put profits ahead of patients. In recent years, the government has cracked down on the pharmaceutical industry's aggressive marketing tactics, which include pushing medicines for unapproved, or off-label, uses. While doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines for any use, drugmakers cannot promote them in any way that is not approved by FDA.

    "Every time pharmaceutical companies engage in this type of conduct, they corrupt medical decisions by health care providers, jeopardize the public health, and take money out of taxpayers' pockets," said Attorney General Eric Holder, in prepared remarks at a news conference.

    In its plea agreement, J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals admitted that it promoted Risperdal to nursing home doctors and nurses to control erratic behavior in seniors with dementia. That use is explicitly barred in the drug's warning label because of the risk of stroke and death in elderly patients.

    Antipsychotic drugs are known for their sedative effects and are occasionally used to treat post-traumatic stress and sleep disorders, though those uses have never been approved by the FDA.

    NBC Bay Area, 11/5/13
    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/nati...hnson--Johnson-Drug-Settlement-230517711.html

    Author Bio

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. Mindless
    Re: Johnson & Johnson Pays Out Billions For Wrongful Promotion of Psychiatric Drug Us

    I am disturbed but not surprised that a large pharmaceutical company has the option to pay a fine to settle civil and criminal charges. Johnson & Johnson have been acting unlawfully and unethically, encouraging the use of the products for off-label use in particularly vulnerable people such as children and the elderly.

    Allegations of bribery have been made. Why have none of the individuals involved been prosecuted? What of those alleged to have accepted kickbacks? It does seem that companies like Johnson and Johnson may have more than a few US doctors on their payroll.

    Last year Johnson & Johnson reported a 3.4% increase in sales, with a full year profit of $6.72 Billion. A settlement and fines of $2.2 billion doesn't seem that much, I wonder how long this unethical and illegal marketing strategy has been in place?

    This is how Johnson & Johnson describe themselves:
    This company 'touches the lives' of over a billion people a day, including the eldery, children and the disabled. I'm not sure they should be allowed to do so.

    Source:
    Johnson & Johnson 2012 Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Results.
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Johnson & Johnson Pays Out Billions For Wrongful Promotion of Psychiatric Drug Us

    It is appalling that they are allowed to slip through the court system, almost unscathed, because of their money, power and name, but what else can you expect in a country that has come to value the all-mighty dollar more than it values the citizens it's supposed to protect?

    As to why no one sued, seems the payoff for keeping quiet was more of a guarantee than going up against one of the giants of corporate America, in the land of the free.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!