US drug giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which has recently made a series of recalls and in the midst of several lawsuits, yesterday agreed to pay $181 million to settle claims by 36 states over its marketing of antipsychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega.
The New Jersey-based company's subsidiary, Janssen was hauled by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for improperly marketing Risperdal, Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-Tab and Invega to patients from 1998 through 2004 for uses not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration - including elderly residents of nursing homes.
''This landmark settlement holds the companies accountable for practices that put patients in danger, and serves as a warning to other pharmaceutical giants that they must play by one set of rules,'' New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
Risperdal is an anti-psychotic medication used to treat mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and irritability associated with children and adolescence with Autism.
Invega, which is derived from risperdone, is also marketed for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar mania.
The 36 states, including New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arizona and Texas, separately filed lawsuits alleging thatJanssen's Risperdal was sold for unapproved uses, including dementia in elderly patients, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder in children and adolescents, and depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, conduct disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer's disease.