Remember when we thought Johnson & Johnson could be trusted? Ha ha, good times!
Washington (AFP) – Global health-care giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to settle allegations of fraudulently marketing drugs and paying kickbacks to promote their sales, the government said Monday.
In one of the largest health-care fraud settlements in US history, J&J’s criminal and civil fine covers allegations the company marketed schizophrenia drug Risperdal and other prescription drugs for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Justice Department said.
The settlement further covers kickbacks allegedly paid to physicians and pharmacies for prescribing and promoting those drugs by J&J.
The actions resulted in millions of dollars in benefits paid by Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and disabled people, causing losses to both the federal and state governments.
“This global settlement resolves multiple investigations involving the antipsychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega — as well as the heart drug Natrecor and other Johnson & Johnson products,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
“The settlement also addresses allegations of conduct that recklessly put at risk the health of some of the most vulnerable members of our society — including young children, the elderly, and the disabled.”
Under federal law, pharmaceutical companies only are allowed to market drugs for purposes approved by the FDA.
J&J is to pay $485 million in criminal fines and forfeiture and a total of $1.72 billion in civil settlements with the federal government and the states.
J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of interstate promotion of Risperdal for unapproved treatment of elderly dementia patients and will pay a total of $400 million, including a criminal fine of $334 million and forfeiture of $66 million. Janssen’s guilty plea requires approval by the US district court.