A South Carolina jury will determine whether drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson deceived state doctors about the safety of Risperdal. Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug often prescribed to mental-health patients. According to the Risperdal lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson sent letters to more than 7,000 South Carolina doctors minimizing the health risks and overstating the drug’s effectiveness. The state claims that this unfair and deceptive marketing campaign violated consumer protection laws. Johnson & Johnson could have to pay more than $360 million in penalties.

Marketing Campaign Reached 700,000 Doctors Nationwide

In addition to the South Carolina doctors at the center of the current litigation, Johnson & Johnson sent similar correspondences to doctors around the country. In response to the targeted marketing campaign, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent Johnson & Johnson a warning letter stating that the claims about Risperdal’s safety minimized potentially life-threatening risks of diabetes and exaggerated the drug’s advantages compared to its competitors. Johnson & Johnson denies that it deceived doctors or engaged in a “spin campaign” to promote drug sales.

The South Carolina lawsuit is the third of approximately 10 state lawsuits stemming from the allegedly deceptive marketing campaigns. In order to effectively conduct its marketing campaign, Johnson & Johnson allegedly hid studies rebutting claims that the drug was safe and effective.

Controversy is Commonplace for Johnson & Johnson

Recently, Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s leading drug manufacturers, has been plagued by scandal. In addition to defending state actions regarding Risperdal, Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, is also defending numerous individual lawsuits stemming from an August 2010 nationwide hip replacement recall. Earlier this month, David Floyd, president of Johnson & Johnson’s hip replacement division, resigned.

As Johnson & Johnson continues to be criticized and scrutinized, the need for increased regulatory control over drug manufacturers becomes more apparent. During his opening statements, the attorney for the state of South Carolina said, “This case is about corporate responsibility and not going out to lie to defenseless people in pursuit of the almighty dollar.”

Injured by a Johnson & Johnson Drug or Medical Device?

If you or a loved one has been injured by a Johnson & Johnson defective medical device or drug, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Contact one of our lawyers today for a free and confidential evaluation. The lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP have extensive litigation experience, and have recovered billions of dollars for their clients. In addition to being staunch advocates for your claim, our lawyers also provide personal attention to guide you through the complex litigation process.

Published November 17, 2011 by