SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued the following statement, following the announcement that California joined with 45 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government in a $2.2 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., over allegations of the companies’ unlawful marketing practices, including off-label promotion and kickbacks, to promote the sales of their atypical antipsychotic drugs, Risperdal and Invega.
California’s share of the national settlement is $89 million, which is the largest recovery ever for California from a national civil settlement regarding atypical antipsychotic drugs.
“Motivated by profit, these companies made false claims that jeopardized the health of California’s most vulnerable patients, including children and senior citizens—and left California taxpayers with the bill,” said Attorney General Harris. “Today’s record settlement reinforces the California Department of Justice’s commitment to rooting out this kind of greed wherever we find it.”
As part of this global resolution, the companies have agreed to resolve civil liabilities for their alleged unlawful conduct, which caused false and/or fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medi-Cal and improper Medi-Cal purchases. The complaint highlights practices by Johnson & Johnson and Janssen, including marketing to patient populations (children, adolescents and the elderly) for whom the drugs were not FDA approved and making false and misleading statements about the efficacy of these drugs.
To compensate the Medicaid programs, the companies will pay $1.114 billion as the combined federal and states’ share of the civil settlement for both drugs. After a statutory relator’s share is paid to the whistleblowers who brought the fraud to the attention of the government, the Department of Health Care Services will be reimbursed $44.5 million for losses incurred from the fraud; the remainder will go to support Medi-Cal fraud and enforcement efforts.
In addition, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge of misbranding Risperdal in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. As part of the criminal plea, Janssen has agreed to pay an additional $400 million in criminal fines and forfeitures.
The Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse investigates and prosecutes claims of Medi-Cal civil and criminal fraud, as well as allegations of elder abuse, such as physical assaults or financial theft.