The multi-billion dollar drug company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), has come under fire for allegedly violating the rules in their marketing of Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug. Back in 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told J&J that their marketing materials for geriatric patients overstated Risperdals benefits and minimized risks, according to Bloomberg.com. In 2000, an internal business plan strategized a way to increase Risperdals market share by marketing the benefits for elderly dementia, an unapproved use.
This was described as one of the more egregious examples of marketing drugs to vulnerable patients by Jerry Avorn, who works at the Harvard Medical School. He went on to say, seeing such clear evidence in black and white of the details of a campaign like this is still pretty upsetting.
J&Js marketing of Risperdal could be illegal since current law states that drug companies cannot promote a drug for uses other than those approved by the FDA. At the time this marketing and business plan was crafted, Risperdal was only approved for psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, not for dementia.
J&J is already in hot water for allegedly orchestrating backroom deals with the pharmacy chain Omnicare. My colleague, Emily Mapp Brannon, wrote about these questionable backroom deals and the side effects of Risperdal that could really hurt senior citizens.
We dont know what will happen with J&J and if theyll have to pay an enormous fine and/or remove Risperdal from the open market. The ramifications of their dubious business practices will be determined in the courtroom.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.