Risperdal trial scheduled in Arkansas' lawsuit over anti-psychotic drug
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A jury trial is scheduled to begin Monday over accusations that a pharmaceutical company illegally marketed Ripserdal, an anti-psychotic medication in Arkansas.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary concealed the potential health risks of the drug Risperdal. The suit also alleges that the company promoted it for unauthorized uses in violation of Arkansas' Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
Risperdal is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
It's the fourth time Johnson & Johnson has gone to trial over a state's complaints about Risperdal since they first arose in 2004. The most recent trial, in Texas, ended with a $158 million settlement.
Arkansas is accusing the drugmaker of risking the lives and health of thousands of residents by deliberately hiding the drug's potential to cause serious weight gain and inflict diabetes and related ailments, as well as cause circulatory problems that increase the risk of strokes.
McDaniel alleges Johnson & Johnson, through its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary, concealed Risperdal's potential health risks and promoted it for unauthorized uses in violation of Arkansas ' Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
State attorneys, in describing Risperdal as the most widely prescribed antipsychotic medication of its kind, allege that its "blockbuster success" was due in large part to the company hiding or downplaying its risks, even to the point of concealing negative results of studies.
The lawsuit also alleges that Risperdal was prescribed for purposes other than its labeled, federally approved purpose. The drugmaker promoted it for the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to the suit, despite testing that showed the drug increased the risk of death in elderly users.