Texas declined to join a fraud lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson by a former sales representative whose separate whistleblower complaint is the subject of a jury trial pending in Trenton, New Jersey, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Lynn Powell, who was fired by Johnson & Johnson in 2004, sued the drugmaker in February under the Texas Medicaid Fraud and Prevention Law, claiming it marketed the schizophrenia drug Risperdal for purposes not approved by the FDA.
Tom Kelley, a spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, stated: "We declined to intervene” in the Powell case because of a prior lawsuit filed by a whistleblower."
As a result, Powell withdrew from the case on July 31, said her attorney in that case, Guy Fisher.
The company says it released Powell for violating company policies against off-label marketing. The judge in Trenton may dismiss her case tomorrow before it even goes to a jury, according to the news source.
Powell filed a qui tam complaint in Texas alleging the majority of Risperdal sales in the US from 2001 to 2005 were for uses not approved by the FDA. According to the complaint, "over the ten-year period ending December 2003, the defendants succeeded in growing Risperdal sales beyond the drug’s small, FDA-indicated demographic of adults with schizophrenia."