J&J Wins Risperdal Lawsuit Appeal in Arkansas Over Marketing of Antipsychotic

Published on March 24, 2014 by Laurie Villanueva

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A two-year old Risperdal lawsuit verdict has been overturned by its manufacturer in Arkansas Supreme Court, according to Reuters.com.

A report from March 20th indicates that a $1.2 billion judgment from April 2012 was reversed that day in Little Rock after Johnson & Johnson successfully argued claims that the drug’s benefits were overstated by its distributor, and side effects concealed from the public. According to lawsuits alleging Risperdal gynecomastia and other complications, the company failed to adequately warn about dangers allegedly associated with its product, which may have been negligently designed, manufactured and marketed. This medication is approved in the U.S. to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults and adolescents, and is frequently prescribed to treat symptoms associated with autism.

Records in Arkansas Supreme Court show that 35 Attorney Generals in the U.S. fought to uphold the April 2012 ruling in a brief filed before Johnson & Johnson won its appeal. According to Reuters, the judgment was thrown out after it was determined that the wrong law had been used to originally sue the companies. Instead of pointing to a law that applied to drug companies, the plaintiff had referenced certain regulations that applied to healthcare facilities.

“Janssen is indisputably not a healthcare facility and applying for certification or re-certification as described in the statute,” according to an Associate involved in the case.  “Hence, the statutory provision is not applicable.”

Risperdal Verdict Overthrown after Court Finds Law to Be Inapplicable

The decision to overturn the Risperdal lawsuit was unanimous, according to Reuters, even though some officials maintain that Medicare fraud law could have been used in the case. In a statement released by Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, he said he was “disappointed that the court viewed the law differently. Nevertheless, I will keep working to protect consumers against fraud and the kinds of irresponsible and greedy actions shown by Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals in their marketing of the drug Risperdal,” he said.

The Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the verdict also got rid of an order that directed Johnson & Johnson to pay $181 million in the state’s attorney’s fees.

Meanwhile, court records show more than 200 product liability claims alleging Risperdal gynecomastia and other side effects now filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

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