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Johnson & Johnson to Pay $158 Million to Texas

Cristina Arias, Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson must pay Texas $158 million in Medicaid fraud claims after downplaying the harmful side effects of a drug called Risperdal for children and the elderly. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2004, alleged that Johnson and Johnson schemed to profit from the Medicaid program by encouraging doctors to prescribe the medication, downplaying it’s dangers and overstating it’s safety and effectiveness in treating schizophrenia and dementia.The drug had not been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for such uses at the time.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said “Today’s agreement sends a strong message that the State will pursue those who defraud Texas taxpayers. Johnson & Johnson’s scheme to profit from the Medicaid program by overstating the safety and effectiveness of an expensive drug and improperly influencing officials ended up costing taxpayers millions of dollars.”

The settlement came after a 10 day trial in Travis County.

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