The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, has agreed to pay 2.2 billion dollars to settle criminal and civil healthcare fraud claims against them. The DOJ revealed that Johnson & Johnson allegedly marketed prescription drugs as safe and effective, for uses that the drugs were never approved for. These drugs included Risperdal (antipsychotic medication), Invega (antipsychotic medication) and Natrecor (heart medication). In addition, were claims that Johnson & Johnson gave kick-backs to physicians and pharmacies for prescribing and promoting these drugs.
US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the alleged conduct of Johnson & Johnson displayed a "reckless indifference to the safety of the American people." The settlement included payment of 1.72 billion dollars for federal and state civil claims and 485 million dollars in criminal fines and forfeiture. This landmark payout, is one of the largest healthcare fraud settlements in United States history.
Although 2.2 billion dollars is undoubtedly an enormous amount of money, it is a mere fraction of what Big Pharma makes at both the financial and health expense of the American people. If the allegations are true, then this settlement represents a travesty and the DOJ did a disservice to the people by not pursuing all criminal and civil claims to the full extent of the law. The power wielded by Big Pharma in America is arguably second to none. This settlement is a cold reminder that America is no longer a country governed for the people and by the people, as our forefathers intended.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.