A $258 million Risperdal lawsuit verdict awarded to the state of Louisiana in 2010 has been overturned by a split Louisiana Supreme Court. In a 4-to-3 vote last week, the state’s high court ruled that the Louisiana Attorney General hadn’t presented enough evidence to prove that a letter sent by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit to doctors in the state violated Louisiana’s health care assistance law.
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office had charged in 2004 that the letter in question made misleading claims about the safety and efficacy of Risperdal. Because of this letter, the state alleged doctors chose to prescribe Risperdal even though there were other drugs available that were just as safe, but less expensive. As a result, the Louisiana insurance program paid out more than $42 million for more than 1.6 million Risperdal prescriptions written in 2003 and 2004.
Among other things, the majority of the judges on the Louisiana Supreme Court held that the Attorney General wrongly interpreted part of the state’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law. According to their decision, to find the companies liable, the state was required to prove that a doctor had prescribed Risperdal, despite knowing there were better alternatives available.
“Even if the defendants misrepresented the efficacy or safety of their product to Louisiana doctors, there is simply no evidence in this record, and moreover no allegation, that this misrepresentation in fact caused any health care provider or his billing agent to knowingly present a claim for payment that is false, fictitious, untrue or misleading in regard to any material information,” the majority wrote.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who were allegedly injured by the antipsychotic drug continue to move forward in Pennsylvania State Court in Philadelphia. The mass tort litigation has grown to over 200 claims, dozens of which were filed on behalf of alleged victims of Risperdal gynecomastia.
The Louisiana Risperdal lawsuit was not part of the $2.2 billion settlement Johnson & Johnson reached with the U.S. Department of Justice late last year to resolve charges that it improperly marketed Risperdal and other drugs. That agreement still stands.
Boys and men who developed gynecomastia due to Risperdal may be eligible to file a claim against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. To arrange for a free, no obligation case review, please call .