Leading Pharmaceutical Company, Johnson and Johnson and Several Subsidiaries Misrepresented the Safety and Effectiveness of Anti-Psychotic Drug (Risperdal) – Then Influenced State Officials into Making the Suspect Drug a Standard Treatment in Public Mental Programs.
By Jason Embry, W.
December 16, 2006
Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott joined the suit and alleges official State's mental facilities were duped into using the drug. A lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company claims State official pushed the drug and was rewarded with money.
Attorney General Greg Abbott joined the lawsuit filed in
The lawsuit, which came to light Friday, seeks to recover for the state untallied alleged overcharges to the state's Medicaid program, which pays for health care for low-income people.
Jones' lawsuit alleges that the companies launched a drug named Risperdal in 1994 to treat schizophrenia. About the same time, the state was developing a protocol, or treatment guidelines, for which drugs should be used in public mental health programs. The defendants "provided substantial financial contributions to and improperly influenced the development" of the protocols, the lawsuit said, and Risperdal took precedence in the protocols over cheaper, equally effective medicines.
The drug later received recommendations as the medicine of choice in the state's mental health protocol for treating children and adolescents, even though it lacked a Food and Drug Administration indication for those age groups, the lawsuit says. It says side effects and health risks include increased chance of stroke, renal failure and hyperglycemia.
The companies pushed Risperdal in other states through paid consultants on expert panels, peer-to-peer marketing strategies and "administrative decisions made by a select few public officials," the lawsuit says. The companies sent an unnamed
The lawsuit says at least 17 states, including
"We allege it's a scheme whereby they passed off as medical science phony representations and misleading facts about the efficacy and appropriateness of these drugs," said Thomas Melsheimer, a lawyer for Jones.
Abbott's office declined to comment on the lawsuit, as did spokesmen for Johnson & Johnson and the state's Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees the Medicaid program. A commission spokesman did say
Melsheimer described Jones as a "classic whistle-blower" who filed the lawsuit in 2004 on behalf of
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