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Kentucky Reaches $39.5 Million Settlement in OxyContin and Risperdal Suits

Dec 31, 2015

Purdue Pharma LP and Johnson & Johnson will pay a combined $39.5 million to settle lawsuits brought by the state of Kentucky over the narcotic OxyContin and antipsychotic Risperdal, the state attorney general said.

Under the terms of the settlements-which end nearly nine years of litigation-Purdue will pay $24 million to the state, and Johnson & Johnson will pay $15.5 million, Law360 reports. Both cases were filed in state courts in 2007 and settled on December 22, 2015, according to a statement from the Kentucky attorney general's office. Neither company admitted wrongdoing as part of the settlements.

"These companies engaged in reckless behavior that put our citizens at risk," Attorney General Jack Conway said. "Both companies knowingly and aggressively marketed drugs they knew to be harmful in order to drive profits. I am pleased we were able to recover damages for the commonwealth and recover funds to help expand addiction treatment in Kentucky."

The lawsuit against Purdue Pharma alleged that the company defrauded the Kentucky Medicaid program by knowingly downplaying to patients and doctors the addictiveness of OxyContin. Purdue's misrepresentations led doctors to prescribe OxyContin more often than they would have had they known the risks. Medicaid covered many of the prescriptions. Kentucky's suit against J&J's Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit alleged that the companies marketed Risperdal for pediatric use before receiving Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for this use in 2007. The suit further claimed that the companies failed to disclose that the drug could cause a hormonal imbalance and infertility in children, according to Law360.

Kentucky said that Risperdal was also marketed for unapproved use in elderly patients with dementia, despite the fact that the drug carried potentially deadly side effects for them.

In addition to the settlement payment, Janssen agreed to clearly disclose the risks associated with Risperdal in Kentucky and said it would not promote the drug for non-FDA approved uses.

Purdue said the settlement resolves the last outstanding dispute of its kind. The company settled with the other 49 states in 2007, Law360 reports. The company noted that it reformulated OxyContin in 2010 to include abuse-deterrent properties.

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