Anti marketing fraud statute used to prosecute Johnson and Johnson in Risperdal case

Johnson & Johnson is facing a major appellate court decision in a state anti-fraud lawsuit, which could have nation-wide repercussions on how drugmakers are prosecuted for their marketing strategies. Louisiana is saying that Johnson & Johnson violated a state anti-fraud law when is disseminated promotional materials for Risperdal, an antipsychotic medicine.  In the case, it was alleged that that the marketing materials, issued by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc, the division of J&J which makes Risperdal were misleading and caused harm by stating that Risperdal was less likely to cause diabetes than its competitors in order to obtain funds from the state’s Medicaid program.  Prosecuting misleading advertising claims is a growing trend among state attorney generals and private plaintiffs.  In Louisiana he case alleged that Janssen Pharmaceuticals spread misleading information in letters and sales calls to doctors about the relative risks of diabetes associated with Risperdal.  A jury found Janssen’s marketing campaigns violated the state law 35,542 times at a cost of $7,250 per violation, resulting in $258 million in fines. It awarded the state another $70 million in counsel fees.  The Louisiana Supreme Court will decide whether the verdict will stand. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.