Johnson & Johnson files response regarding US government lawsuit over alleged kickback scheme

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday filed a response in federal court to a US lawsuit that alleges that the drugmaker paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to a pharmacy that specialises in dispensing drugs to nursing home patients. The filing argues that its rebate programmes did not violate the false claims act or anti-kickback statute, as the government claims, Bloomberg reported.

Noting that rebates are a "standard industry practice," Johnson & Johnson called the case "a remarkable attempt to attack common discounting arrangements that are expressly protected under federal and state law." The drugmaker added that providing higher rebates to customers based on the share of a manufacturer's products and engaging in efforts to add its drugs to insurer formularies are all "common commercial practices."

In addition, Johnson & Johnson said that the Justice Department didn't allege that Omnicare made any factually false claims for reimbursement to Medicaid, or that it falsely certified it had met conditions for participation in the programme. The drugmaker also argued that the US government failed to prove a link between kickback claims and improper switching of patients to Johnson & Johnson products without physician approval, and that there was not "a single instance in which any patient was prescribed a therapeutically inappropriate drug."

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