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Janssen Pharmaceutica fined $1.2 billion

April 12, 2012 at 2:03 AM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 12 (UPI) -- Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica was fined $1.2 billion by a county judge in Arkansas Wednesday for Medicaid fraud.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox ordered Janssen Pharmaceutica to pay $5,000 per offense for 238,874 prescriptions paid by the state's Medicaid program, a total of $1,194,370,000, Little Rock's KARK-TV reported.

The judge's financial penalty came the day after a jury found the company had engaged in fraud and deceptive trade practices by not disclosing or minimizing possibly dangerous side effects of its anti-psychotic medication Risperdal.

The TV station said the company is expected to file an appeal in the lawsuit, which was filed in 2007.

"This is a big win for Arkansas," state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said in a statement. "Today's imposition of more than $1.2 billion in penalties sends a clear signal that big drug companies like Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals cannot lie to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], patients and doctors in order to defraud Arkansas taxpayers of our Medicaid dollars. These two companies put profits before people, and they are rightfully being held responsible for their actions."