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J&J to Pay $2B for Improperly Marketing Antipsychotic Drug

Settlement will cover criminal, civil charges with U.S. government, 45 states

J&J to Pay $2B for Improperly Marketing Antipsychotic Drug

TUESDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Johnson & Johnson will pay more than $2 billion in fines and plead guilty to a misdemeanor for improperly marketing its antipsychotic drug Risperdal and two other medications, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

Risperdal is approved in the United States to treat symptoms of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar mania, and to ease irritability in those with autism. However, a long-running federal investigation found the company was promoting the drug for unapproved uses, marketing it to doctors who had elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer's, but not schizophrenia, government officials said.

Investigators also claimed that the company was paying kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies in an effort to increase sales of the drug.

Attorney General Eric Holder outlined the scope of the settlement during a Monday afternoon news conference. "We are here to announce that Johnson & Johnson and three of its subsidiaries have agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil claims that they marketed prescription drugs for uses that were never approved as safe and effective -- and that they paid kickbacks to both physicians and pharmacies for prescribing and promoting these drugs," Holder said.

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