Johnson & Johnson Will Pay $2.2B Over Kickbacks
It's the third-largest US settlement involving a drugmaker
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 4, 2013 11:29 AM CST
In this Thursday Nov. 15, 2007 file photograph, the logo is seen on a wall outside the health care products maker Johnson & Johnson's world headquarters in New Brunswick, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)

(Newser) – Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations of promoting three prescription drugs for off-label uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Justice announced today. The allegations include paying kickbacks to physicians and pharmacies to recommend and prescribe Risperdal and Invega, both antipsychotic drugs, and Natrecor, which is used to treat heart failure. The figure includes $1.72 billion in civil settlements with federal and state governments, as well as $485 million in criminal fines and forfeited profits.

The agreement is the third-largest US settlement involving a drugmaker, and the latest in a string of legal actions against drug companies allegedly putting profits ahead of patients. In recent years, the government has cracked down on the industry's aggressive marketing tactics, which include pushing medicines for unapproved uses. While doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines for any use, drugmakers cannot promote them in any way that is not approved by FDA. Last year British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline paid a record-setting $3 billion in fines to settle criminal and civil violations involving 10 of its drugs.

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Dec 16, 2013 8:22 AM CST
Was wondering how that superbowl ticket got in my Band-Aid box.
Ezekiel 25:17
Nov 5, 2013 11:33 AM CST
I know how those kickbacks worked. First of all, they would team up with a hospital, doctor, and tv station. The TV station would produce a medical segment and bring in the so-called expert, such as a doctor of women's health. In our case, a local journalism professor told his students not to get involved with it because it was nothing short of payola and plugola. The local station made a killing from J&J sending them fat checks to put their doctor on air and then suggest women use their drugs for problem x. The hospital got a nice spiff and the doctor got seriously hooked up to the Benjamines. It looked legitimate enough to be a real news segment. But the entire thing was really one long running commercial for the hospital, doctor, and the drug. It often included a part where the doctor fielded questions that had been emailed in. So she would read the problem and then suggest the drug. That's so easy to do as you get plenty of messages from viewers that surely you can pick only the ones that are treated with one of J&J pharma. I complained a few times but they never replied. I guess that's called a non-denial, denial. It goes on to this day except that other pharmaceutical manufacturers have joined the program and they all now send fat checks to the local tv station when their drugs are mentioned on the news programs. It would all be fine if they ran a tagline that said, "This entire segment is sponsored by drug makers."
Lou Bernardo
Nov 5, 2013 5:31 AM CST
Ever wonder when you in a doctor's waiting room watching all the drug npusher reps going in and out ahead of the patients who gets what out of the "deals" they're pushing?