J&J settles Risperdal suit for $181 million

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Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, will pay $181 million to settle charges that it marketed antipsychotic medications for medically unapproved purposes.

The payouts will go to 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, which brought consumer fraud charges against Janssen for allegedly deceptively marketing the drug Risperdal to providers treating patients with Alzheimer's and dementia, Reuters reported. The drug, which is intended to treat schizophrenia, is not approved for these conditions.

Manufacturers are forbidden from promoting drugs to providers for unapproved indications. Risperdal often is used in nursing homes to sedate agitated memory care residents. Regulators and provider groups have been working to reduce this practice. At their peak, annual sales of Risperdal reached over $4 billion, according to Reuters.

J&J has been involved in several multimillion-dollar settlements with regard to Risperdal in recent months. In March, federal prosecutors rejected a $1 billion settlement with J&J over Risperdal. The company also settled another lawsuit, to the tune of $158 million, brought by the state of Texas earlier this year.