SHORT HILLS, N.J.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Stone & Magnanini LLP today announced a $1.3 billion settlement of false marketing and fraud claims between the United States Department of Justice and Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The settlement, which covers fraud in connection with the marketing of the drugs Risperdal and Invega, constitutes one of the largest pharmaceutical settlements in United States history.
“It is courageous citizens like the whistleblowers in this case who, at great risk and personal sacrifice, protect our health care system and keep pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson and Janssen honest”
Stone & Magnanini, a firm with a history of representing whistleblowers in groundbreaking settlements, represented Dr. Joseph Piacentile, a physician who was the first to blow the whistle on Johnson & Johnson and Janssen’s fraudulent conduct back in 2001. Following Dr. Piacentile’s filing, five other whistleblowers filed actions against the companies, and relators and their counsel formed a team to assist Government lawyers in achieving this groundbreaking settlement.
“It is courageous citizens like the whistleblowers in this case who, at great risk and personal sacrifice, protect our health care system and keep pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson and Janssen honest,” Stone stated. “We applaud the Government’s actions in this case and we encourage other whistleblowers who know about pharmaceutical fraud to come forward and prevent future harm to patients.”
The settlement agreement states that the defendants knowingly promoted Risperdal for off-label sales to dementia patients, ADHD and other uses in children and adolescents under the age of eighteen, individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities and various non-psychotic mental disorders, among others. The company allegedly made false marketing statements about the safety and effectiveness of Risperdal and Invega and paid illegal kickbacks to physicians and pharmacies to promote the drugs.
Stone & Magnanini, which was recently recognized as one of the top ten boutique law firms in the country by the National Law Journal, represents whistleblowers in False Claims Act cases as well as cases filed under IRS, SEC and other whistleblower statutes. The firm has assisted its clients in recovering several billion dollars from health care companies including, most recently, GlaxoSmithKline, Forest Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cephalon and Medco. The firm also just last year assisted the Government in a $360 million settlement against leading drug wholesaler McKesson. Stone, who previously served as head of the False Claims Act Department at legal powerhouse Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, has over twenty years experience in prosecuting whistleblower cases.