Bloomberg News

Massachusetts Sues J&J Over Risperdal Marketing Practices

August 01, 2011

(Updates with company comment in fifth, six paragraphs.)

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Massachusetts’s attorney general sued Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil-Janssen unit for improper marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.

The company marketed the drug as a treatment for dementia in the elderly and a way to ease various ailments of younger people when those uses hadn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Attorney General Martha Coakley said today in a statement.

Johnson & Johnson’s promotion of Risperdal for dementia failed to disclose “an increased risk of death” associated with the drug, according to the statement. The FDA approved the medication primarily for treating schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder, according to Coakley’s office.

“Janssen’s illegal marketing and sales tactics helped the company generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in the Commonwealth,” the complaint states.

Teresa Mueller, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, said the company will “vigorously defend” itself against the claims.

“We are committed to ethical business practices and have policies in place to insure that our products are only promoted for their FDA-approved indications,” she said today in a telephone interview.

The case is Massachusetts v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., 11-2811, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Suffolk Superior Court (Boston).

Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, fell 38 cents to $64.41 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 4.1 percent this year.

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Fred Strasser

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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