J&J Improperly Marketed Drug, South Carolina Says

Bloomberg News

By Margaret Cronin Fisk

Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest maker of health care products, was sued by the state of South Carolina over claims the company’s Janssen LP unit fraudulently marketed the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

The companies promoted the drug for unapproved uses, contrary to U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, and concealed the risk of diabetes and other side effects, the state said in its complaint.

Janssen and New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson “have engaged in a protracted and willful course of corporate misconduct and misrepresentation,” the state said in its complaint. “As a direct result of defendants’ marketing efforts, the state has paid millions of dollars for non- medically accepted indications of Risperdal,” the state said.

The suit is one of at least 12 state claims against marketers of so-called atypical antipsychotics, a class of drugs that includes Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa, AstraZeneca Plc’s Seroquel and Risperdal. Lilly was sued by at least eight states. Johnson & Johnson has been sued by Pennsylvania and Louisiana. Alaska’s suit against Lilly over Zyprexa is set for trial in March 2008…

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