Medicine

This story was especially infuriating because of the horrendous side effects kids suffered from the inappropriate use of the drug:

Allen Jones used to work for Pennsylvania taxpayers, and his job was to look into wrongdoing.

An investigator for the state’s Office of Inspector General, Jones uncovered payments from pharmaceutical companies to state officials in exchange for favorable treatment of their antipsychotic drugs in state medical programs.

Jones said he got fired for doing his job. That was in June 2004.

On Thursday, Jones learned he will share in $158 million that global pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay to the state of Texas, Jones, and the federal government for overcharging Medicaid and for illegally promoting its antipsychotic drug Risperdal, including for use in children.

“There was total subversion of science by the company,” Jones said Thursday in a phone interview from Austin, Texas, where a jury had been hearing evidence in a trial that started Jan. 10. “There were many trials with negative information that the company completely buried. They did not forward it to the FDA. They denied it even existed. Then, on a state-by-state level, they infiltrated the mental-health delivery system.”

Jones’ investigation in Pennsylvania led him to Texas, whose attorney general joined the suit in 2006.

The Texas case was just one of dozens of court cases involving Risperdal. J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. subsidiary, which makes the drug, are in New Brunswick, N.J., and nearby Titusville. (Sister company Janssen Biotech is in Horsham, Montgomery County.)

Got to keep up that shareholder value, don’t you know!