The Office of the Attorney General of Texas filed a civil lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleging that the drugmaker defrauded the state repeatedly over the past 10 years to ensure that its atypical antipsychotic Risperdal (risperidone) was included on the state's Medicaid preferred drug list. The state is seeking to recover millions of dollars spent on the drug through the programme.
Company officials "targeted Texas Medicaid with their sophisticated and fraudulent marketing scheme," the attorney general's office stated in the filing. The allegations in the suit include claims that the drugmaker distributed promotional materials disguised as scientific research, such as ghostwritten articles and statistically non-significant studies. The suit also suggests that the company paid third-party contractors and nonprofit groups to promote the product.
In response to the news, the Johnson & Johnson denied that any of the allegations were true. Company spokesperson Kara Russell commented: "We are committed to high ethical standards and responsible behaviour. We take this obligation very seriously.
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