Johnson & Johnson heads back to court in Risperdal suit

Company announced $158 million deal with Texas in January over marketing of the drug

The drama surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) antipsychotic drug Risperdal is far from over.

Tomorrow, J&J will head back to a Texas courtroom to further discuss the $158 million settlement it had reached with the state in January. The state-specific suit would fully resolve all Risperdal-related claims in Texas, J&J said in January.

"As far as we knew, we had a solid settlement," Tom Kelley, a spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, told Thomson Reuters. "We'll have more information on Tuesday about what has caused [J&J] some concerns."

The case dates back to 2004 when the U.S. government began a civil investigation against J&J claiming the pharmaceutical company marketed the schizophrenic drug for unapproved illnesses, including bipolar disorder, dementia, and mood and anxiety disorders. Soon after, individual states, including Texas, began suing J&J over Risperdal marketing. The Texas suit and settlement, which was the first among all state Risperdal litigation, does not involve other state or federal litigation over Risperdal.

The case’s plaintiff—Allen Jones, who blew the whistle on J&J’s marketing practices—told Thomson Reuters he believes the pharmaceutical company is going to try to reduce the amount of the settlement he and his lawyer receive. J&J "has reneged on the agreement and it's back in court. They are trying to produce a chilling effect on the ability of whistleblowers to come forward," he said.

Before J&J lost its patent on Risperdal, it was the company’s best-selling drug.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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