Johnson & Johnson fined for Promoting Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Medication for Nursing Home Residents

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August 3, 2015

Johnson & Johnson, a global pharmaceutical corporation, will pay more than $2.2 billion in civil and criminal penalties for, among other things, promoting the antipsychotic medication Risperdal for off-label use in treatment of nursing home residents with dementia.

Charges filed by the federal government against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, alleged that the company marketed Risperdal, a medication approved for treatment of schizophrenia, for treatment of agitation, anxiety, and confusion often exhibited by elderly patients with dementia, despite the fact that the FDA had not approved the medication for such uses. Additionally, the company was also accused of paying kickbacks to physicians and the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy provider to promote and prescribe Risperdal and another antipsychotic drug it manufactured  to patients with dementia.

The promotion of this drug for non-approved use placed many elderly nursing home residents at risk for strokes and development of diabetes. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

It is vitally important that families of nursing home residents monitor the medications that are being prescribed for their loved ones.  Ask questions.  Bring to the the attention of the nursing staff any altered level of consciousness you observe when visiting your family member in a nursing home.

Our firm has represented many nursing home residents who have suffered injury or death as a result of over-medication.  If you have questions or concerns regarding medications taken by a family member in a nursing home, please feel free to contact our office for advice.