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Risperdal Verdict Reversed
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The $1.2 billion verdict for the state of Arkansas against two pharmaceutical companies for billing Medicaid for off-label use of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal was reversed by The Arkansas Supreme Court, according to Bloomberg News. The company was accused of making misleading claims about Risperdal’s effectiveness and downplaying its diabetes risks on warning labels. According to Legal News Online, Justice Karen R. Baker’s majority opinion says it is considered “highly beneficial” in treating schizophrenia patients.

Johnson & Johnson, the maker Risperdal convinced the Arkansas Supreme Court to throw out a $1.2 billion award against the drug maker over its marketing of the anti-psychotic drug.

  
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The U.S. Justice Department and 45 state attorneys general claimed that the company illegally marketed Risperdal for treating elderly patients with dementia. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not approved the drug for that use. It was also alleged that the company minimized health risks associated with the prescription.

Dustin McDaniel, Arkansas Attorney General wrote in an e-mailed statement that “We pursued this case based on the belief that the General Assembly intended to give the Attorney General’s Office the authority to pursue penalties against those that would enter our state and blatantly deceive the public,” and that according to Bloomberg News, McDaniel also said that “I am disappointed that the court viewed the law differently.”

The court said that according to Bloomberg News, Dustin McDaniel’s attempt to use a Medicaid fraud law governing health-care facilities to support fining J&J over Risperdal marketing was flawed. A spokeswoman for Janssen, Pamela Van Houten, reported that the company was pleased with the outcome. In an e-mailed statement, Van Houten wrote that “Janssen remains strongly committed to ethical business practices.”

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