On November 4th, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to settle civil and criminal claims for marketing off-label, unapproved use of three prescription drugs. This was one of the largest health-care fraud settlements in US history.
Johnson & Johnson was accused of promoting Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug. It was marketed as a drug that controls anxiety and aggression in elderly dementia patients and treats behavioral problems in children and the mentally disabled. However, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug only for schizophrenia.
“When pharmaceutical companies interfere with FDA’s mission of ensuring that drugs are safe and effective for the American public, they undermine the doctor-patient relationship and put the health and safety of patients at risk,” John Roth, director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, said.
According to the allegations, Johnson & Johnson knew that Risperdal posed serious health risks for older adults, like an increased risk of strokes, but when the company was marketing the drug, it downplayed the severity of those risks. In 2004, Risperdal was one of the company’s top-selling drugs, bringing in $3.1 billion in sales.
This is another clear example of how some companies will put profits ahead of the public health. Even big companies that you think you can trust, like Johnson & Johnson, can jeopardize patient safety and health.
Be cautious and make sure you know all the facts. Download this report to learn about 7 different signs that can help you identify when the hospital is putting your safety at risk.