Bloomberg News reports that Johnson & Johnson executives were recently accused of lying to doctors in South Carolina so they would prescribe Risperdal medication to psychotic patients. The doctors say that Johnson & Johnson claimed their medication was safe, when it was in fact a dangerous drug with many side effects. Now, the physicians who prescribed this medicine to patients all throughout the state say they believe Johnson & Johnson should be held liable for their deception. Doctors believe the company downplayed the gravity of some of the medical conditions that could result from Risperdal.
Some 7,000 South Carolina doctors claim Johnson & Johnson issued a letter that had false information about the health risks associated with Risperdal. Lawyers say Johnson & Johnson also violated consumer protection laws, and the doctors want Johnson & Johnson to pay at least $360 million in penalties.
Johnson & Johnson allegedly used "unfair and deceptive" tactics to market their medications and convince physicians to sign off on Risperdal for mental-health care patients. Johnson & Johnson supposedly corresponded with 700,000 doctors throughout the United States, including over 7,000 medical professionals in South Carolina. The company sent out letters informing hospitals and clinics that Risperdal was safety for use.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration then issued a warning letter saying that Johnson & Johnson was not honest when they sent their letter. The FDA says that the company made false claims about the potentially fatal risks of diabetes. They also said Johnson & Johnson overinflated claims that their drug was superior to other antipsychotic medications on the market.
Johnson & Johnson lawyers argue that the doctors in South Carolina can't prove Risperdal has been harmed by the medication. Still, under the South Carolina unfair trade practices law, if the court decides the doctors were deceived, it will mean the company can be fined up to $5,000 per letter that they sent out.
This is not the first lawsuit against Risperdal and Johnson & Johnson in recent months. Bloomberg reveals that there have been 10 state lawsuits about Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal marketing campaigns in recent months. A Louisiana jury ordered the drugmaker to pay $257.7 million in damages and later another $73 million in legal fees. In West Virginia, another lawsuit forced Johnson & Johnson to pay $3.95 million. The state eventually dropped the claim after Johnson & Johnson won an appeal.
Lawyers say that Johnson & Johnson deliberately concealed studies and evidence showing that Risperdal had serious health risks. South Carolina doctors say that they hope that by pursuing a lawsuit they will be able to send a message to pharmaceutical companies and show that it is important to be honest about the side effects of a medical condition. If you want more information, then you need to talk to a injury attorney!