Johnson & Johnson to pay out $2.2 billion over drugs marketing

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Health care manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries will pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil investigations over allegations that they marketed three drugs for uses that were never approved, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday in Washington.

The settlements also cover claims that the companies gave “kickbacks” to physicians and to nursing home pharmacies to promote the drugs’ usage.

The claims involve the schizophrenia drugs Risperdal and Invega and the heart-failure drug Natrecor.

Holder said Johnson & Johnson improperly marketed Risperdal for treatment of psychotic symptoms in elderly, non-schizophrenic patients, even though the drug was approved to treat only schizophrenia.

He said Risperdal and Invega also were improperly marketed for dementia treatment.

That led insurance companies to pay for claims they never should have been paying, he said.

The companies “lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers (and) patients,” Holder said.

Natrecor was marketed as a treatment for patients with less severe heart failure than mentioned in its Food and Drug Administration approval, according to the Department of Justice.

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