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Arkansas judge fines J&J $1.1 billion in Risperdal suit

Jury found the company downplayed and hid risks associated with the drug

A judge in Arkansas has fined Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals $1.1 billion over the companies’ marketing of their antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

After a jury found that the companies downplayed and hid risks associate with the drug, Judge Tim Fox determined that the companies committed almost 240,000 violations of Arkansas’s Medicaid fraud law—one for each Risperdal prescription issued in the state over a three-and-a-half year period. Because each violation to the fraud law carries a maximum $5,000 fine, the total judgment against the companies added up to $1.1 billion. Fox added another $11 million to fine the companies for more than 4,500 violations under Arkansas’s deceptive practices act.

Although lawyers for Arkansas declined to comment on the case, Janssen said in a statement, "We are disappointed with the judge's decision on penalties. If our motion for a new trial is denied, we will appeal."

J&J is fighting Risperdal cases around the country. Last month, it finally finalized the suit brought against it by Texas.  

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Cathleen Flahardy

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