D.C., Maryland to receive millions in drug settlement

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Local,DC,Maryland,Alan Blinder

The District and Maryland will receive about $10 million between them from a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary as part of a sweeping agreement to settle allegations that the company improperly marketed an antipsychotic drug.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals settled with 36 states and D.C. after marketing Risperdal for unapproved uses, though the company did not admit any wrongdoing. Federal law allows physicians to prescribe medications for so-called "off-label" purposes, but drug manufacturers are prohibited from marketing those uses.

Risperdal is approved for schizophrenia treatment, but Janssen also promoted it as an antidote for anxiety, depression and dementia.

Along with the financial settlement, which totals $181 million, Janssen agreed to restrictive guidelines about its future marketing efforts.SClBSClBThe company said it agreed to settle so it could avoid expenses surrounding courtroom battles across the United States.

"We have chosen this path to achieve a prompt and full resolution of these state claims and to ensure we continue to focus on our mission of providing medicines to meet the significant unmet needs of many people who suffer from mental illness," Michael Yang, Janssen's president, said in a statement.

SClBThe settlement calls for the District to receive $4.1 million, and Maryland will get a cut of nearly $6 million. Virginia did not participate in the case.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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