Bloomberg.com is reporting intriguing details of the federal government investigation that resulted in a $2.2 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson that resolved criminal and civil allegations over the marketing of Risperdal and other drugs. The publication of the report comes just as dozens of Risperdal lawsuit claims, including many that allege use of the medication caused gynecomastia (male breast growth) in men and young boys, continue to move forward in U.S. Courts.
According to the report, the U.S. Department of Justice collected evidence against Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen unit with the help of six whistleblowers. In one case, a now-former Johnson & Johnson sales rep wore a recording device to tape marketing presentations at a 2004 national company sales meeting.
“I was concerned that I would be found out accidentally and someone would see me go into a room to meet the agent,” the woman told Bloomberg. “I had to change battery packs every four hours. I knew in the end I was doing the right thing. They needed to know what was going on.”
The investigation involving Risperdal and two other medications took nine years to complete. In the end, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen agreed to enter a guilty plea in a criminal misdemeanor charge for illegally marketing of Risperdal for use in elderly dementia patients. The companies did not admit to wrongdoing in settling civil charges that Risperdal was improperly marketed for use in children prior to its 2006 approval for pediatric indications. The government had also charged that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen had concealed the risks associated with the antipsychotic drug, including the possibility of Risperdal gynecomastia.
Under the federal False Claims Act, whistleblowers in cases like this are entitled to a percentage of any monies recovered by the government. According to Bloomberg.com each of the nine whistleblowers in the Johnson & Johnson case received more than $20 million.
The documents involved in the Johnson & Johnson settlement could yield new evidence that might benefit plaintiffs in Risperdal gynecomastia claims and other lawsuits filed over the drug. Hundreds of such cases are currently making their way through a consolidated litigation underway Pennsylvania State Court in Philadelphia. Last month, plaintiffs in 77 Risperdal lawsuits pending in the proceeding that involve male breast growth allegations filed a motion with the Court seeking enforcement of a settlement they claim to have reached with Johnson & Johnson earlier this year.
There is still time for alleged victims of Risperdal male breast growth to file their own lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. To find out more about your legal options, give the nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP a call today at .