In 2008, Montana’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that it heavily promoted its antipsychotic drug Risperdal despite the fact that the tablets have been linked to the development of diabetes. Risperdal, the trade name of the drug risperidone, is used to treat schizophrenia as well as certain symptoms of bipolar disorder and autism.
Just this month, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary agreed to pay $5.9 million to resolve the suit. Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. agreed to the settlement without admitting to any wrongdoing, as part of a deal that prevents it from misleading consumers about its drugs in the future.
Risperdal has been involved with a number of lawsuits. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson settled a lawsuit claiming that Risperdal caused hundreds of male patients to grow breast tissue and another claiming that it had promoted Risperdal for non-approved uses including dementia, anger management and anxiety. In November 2013, Johnson and Johnson settled out of court for $2.2 billion in response to allegations that they encouraged the overmedication of children as well as the elderly and disabled by showering doctors with kickbacks.
The settlement funds Montana is now set to receive will be divided among courts, hospitals and the state’s newly formed awareness groups. Roughly $1.5 million of the settlement funds will go towards a new program in the state to prevent prescription drug abuse, while another $1.5 million will go towards funding mental health services and programs in Montana, according to the statement.
This settlement is not only significant in terms of the amount of money Montana will receive, but also in that it protects citizens from being prescribed Risperdal based on the types of false statements Janssen previously made to health care providers. If you have been wrongfully prescribed Risperdal or taken Risperdal and experienced some symptoms of diabetes, you should contact a health care provider as soon as possible then consider whether or not you should make a claim against its manufacturer.