Lawsuit says Texas was duped on drug

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By MARK HORVIT

A pharmaceutical company duped the state of Texas into spending millions of dollars on expensive psychiatric drugs and made improper payments to at least one state official, according to a lawsuit filed by a whistle-blower and joined by the Texas attorney general’s office.

At the heart of the suit is a controversial state program that instructs doctors at state-funded healthcare facilities on which medicines to prescribe for a variety of mental illnesses.

The Star-Telegram reported last year that more than $3 million had been donated to the program by drug companies and an organization created by a drug-company founder. Dr. Steven Shon, who managed the program, had taken more than 80 trips throughout the country and abroad to promote it, with his expenses often underwritten by drug companies.

The lawsuit targets Johnson & Johnson and related companies, including Janssen Pharmaceutical, which makes the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The suit was filed in 2004 in Travis County by Allen Jones, a former employee in the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General who investigated drug-company ties to his state’s officials. In the process, he learned of allegations related to Texas…

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