Have you ever heard of Risperdal and Seroquel? They’re antipsychotic drugs, but if you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, you may have also heard of them and there’s the problem in a nut shell. One is produced by pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson, the other is produced another global drug behemoth, AstraZeneca. Both yielded billions of dollars for their prospective companies over the years and both are now looking at billions of dollars in payouts because of off label promotion of the drugs to people with depression and anxiety like you, exposing you to some serious side effects.

In fact, just last week Johnson & Johnson reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia to pay more than $1 billion to the U.S. and most states to resolve a civil investigation into marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal. This is following a ruling against AstraZeneca and two other producers of antipsychotic drugs ordered to pay $2.7 billion to resolve government marketing claims, particularly that the companies pushed the drugs for unapproved uses.

Why Are False Claims By Drug Companies So Bad?

In 1994 and 1999 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered J&J’s subsidiary Janssen to stop making false and misleading marketing claims about Risperdal’s superiority, and both times they ignored the orders. Even when the agency warned them in 2004, followed by an investigation, they ignored them because the practice is so profitable.

What are false claims? There’s a thing in sales called “up-selling.” You may have gone to a restaurant and the server did it, trying to get to have a piece of pie at the end. It’s a way to pad sales and get as much out of the market as possible, which is just good business. However, when it comes to pharmaceutical companies up-selling their drug to treat ailments that they aren’t approved to treat, it can be extremely detrimental, perhaps causing the drug to become “defective.”

What is a defective drug? The reason is that the FDA approves drugs for specific uses is because, though they recognize that all drugs have some side effects associated with them, when applied to the ailment the drug is meant to treat, the benefits outweigh the detriments. When a drug’s detriments outweigh its benefits, the drug becomes a defective drug.

In the case of Risperdal, Seroquel, and other similar antipsychotics, the approved uses were to treat serious schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and violent outbursts associated with autism. All of these are serious mental illnesses that, if left untreated, can lead to severe bodily harm to the individual and potential destructive consequences for those around them.

However, representatives from J&J and AstraZeneca were selling the drugs to pharmacists and physicians as treatments for depression, anxiety, PTSD and other ailments that can be severe, but have their own (less detrimental) drug treatments and in many less severe cases could be treated with diet and exercise.

You see, one of the major the side effects of this family of antipsychotic drugs is serious and uncontrollable weight gain, which can lead to a myriad of secondary side effects such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Clogged Arteries

These ailments become far more deadly than depression or anxiety. J&J and AstraZeneca are currently facing hundreds of drug lawsuits from American victims of Risperdal and Seroquel who are facing the consequences of obesity due to these drug treatments.

Lawsuits Over False Drug Claims

Lawsuits over false claims is are essential because the victims of the side effects the drug would have never been effected by them if the drug company hadn’t made the false claims in the first place. And when there’s so much money involved, that brand of greed needs to be punished by the victims of that greed.

Risperdal at one point was J&J’s marquis drug. Worldwide, the drug generated sales of $24.2 billion from 2003 to 2010, reaching a whopping $4.5 billion in 2007. J&J lost patent protection in 2007 and sales declined merely into the $1 to $2 billion dollar mark in the waning years to now where it still generates hundreds of millions through direct production and generic subsidiary producers.

J&J has not only been pursued by the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Attorney, but has also been sued by 12 states, including Texas, South Carolina and Louisiana, over Risperdal marketing. The attorneys general of the other states “have indicated a potential interest in pursuing similar litigation against J&J.

So far, a jury in Louisiana, weighing claims that the company downplayed the drug’s risks, awarded that state $257.7 million in 2010. A South Carolina judge last year ordered J&J to pay $327 million over Risperdal sold in the state. Currently in Texas, J&J is looking at another $1 billion lawsuit currently running its course through the states court system.

If the turnout of other similar drug lawsuits says anything, this Federal indictment doesn’t help J&J’s chances much. AstraZeneca has paid almost $590 million over Seroquel. Eli Lilly has paid more than $1.7 billion to resolve state and federal investigations over Zyprexa and Pfizer Inc. paid $301 million for its drug Geodon.

Compensation For False Drug Claims

Victims of false drug claims go into a drug treatment with hopes that they will be properly treated for a drug with a minimum instance of side effects just like any other patient. However, when they find their health and quality of life threatened beyond their initial ailment, it shakes their trust in other treatments that might actually help them, thus putting their health in further danger.

This serious danger to their health and trust deserves compensation. If you or someone you know has been injured and mislead by major pharmaceutical company who continues to make billions of dollars off of the drug that caused your pain and suffering, there is a way to seek justice. Many patients just like you have chosen the Defective Drug Attorneys at Phillips Law Firm to represent their best interests. Phillips Law Firm will seek justice on your behalf and work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.