Marketing of Risperdal by Johnson and Johnson
Risperdal is an antipsycotic that is marketed by Johnson and Johnson. There are allegations they have marketed the drug for unapproved uses. Have you been effected?
Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal drug is one of the most widely prescribed antipsychotic medications on the market in the United States, with global sales of the drug reaching a whopping $4.5 billion in 2007. Since its introduction in 1993, Risperdal has been used by millions of Americans suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders, many of whom are unaware that Risperdal may be associated with life-changing side effects, including gynecomastia, heart attack, tardive dyskinesia and stroke. Although the U.S. Justice Department only recently took legal action against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly improperly marketing and advertising Risperdal, the federal government has been investigating the drug firm’s Risperdal sales practices since 2004, when allegations emerged accusing J&J of illegally marketing the atypical antipsychotic for unapproved uses.
Typical vs. Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs
There are two main classes of antipsychotic medications on the market: typical, also known as first-generation antipsychotics, and atypical, also known as second-generation antipsychotics. Atypical antipsychotics like Risperdal quickly gained popularity when they were first introduced, because they were touted by drug makers as causing fewer side effects – particularly tardive dyskinesia – than the first-generation products. Despite the fact that there are now serious doubts regarding the benefits of atypical antipsychotics, Risperdal and similar medications continue to lead the market. In fact, during the 12 months ending in October 2011, there were more than 54 million prescriptions filled for antipsychotic drugs, generating roughly $12.6 billion in sales. Risperdal alone made up 23%, or nearly 12.5 million, of those prescriptions.
J&J Settles Claims Regarding Risperdal Marketing Practices
In addition to more than 400 personal injury lawsuits filed on behalf of former Risperdal users who developed serious side effects while taking the atypical antipsychotic, Johnson & Johnson has also faced considerable legal trouble over its Risperdal marketing practices. In mid-2011, a South Carolina judge ordered J&J to pay $327 million in penalties for deceptively marketing its Risperdal antipsychotic drug, and in early 2012, J&J agreed to pay as much as $2.2 billion to resolve Justice Department probes into its drug sales, particularly for its popular Risperdal medication. In April 2012, an Arkansas judge ordered J&J to pay $1.2 billion in fines over its Risperdal marketing practices, a verdict that came only three months after the drug firm agreed to a $158 million settlement to end a trial in Texas over its Risperdal drug sales. More recently, in what is now known as the largest multi-state consumer protection-based drug settlement in history, J&J agreed to pay another $181 million in August 2012, to resolve claims by 36 states that the company improperly marketed and advertised Risperdal and another antipsychotic drug called Invega.
Treating Psychiatric Disorders With Antipsychotics
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1.1% of the U.S. population suffers from schizophrenia, and 2.6% of adults in the U.S. struggle with symptoms of bipolar disorder. The prevalence of these psychiatric disorders in the United States has made antipsychotics like Risperdal a popular means of treatment, despite the fact that the side effects associated with the drugs may actually outweigh the possible benefits for some patients. Unfortunately, consumers struggling with psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, and even some medical professionals, may be unaware of the risk of major side effects potentially linked to Risperdal and similar atypical antipsychotic products. This is simply unacceptable, considering data regarding Risperdal side effects began to emerge as early as 1999. However, with Johnson & Johnson’s questionable Risperdal marketing practices, and with little action taken by the FDA to warn users about the risk of Risperdal complications, many people who took the antipsychotic in the past are just now realizing that their medical problems may have been caused by the prescription drug.