After The Risperdal Trial, J&J Looks More Like Humpty-Dumpty
by Ed Silverman
January 20, 2012
Now that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $158 million to settle a lawsuit in which the Texas Attorney General charged the drugmaker with a whopper of a scheme to illegally promote its Risperdal antipsychotic, a couple of questions must be asked: why was a deal not made sooner? Moreover, why did Johnson & Johnson risk further damaging its tattered reputation by going to court to fight a lawsuit that media reports indicated months earlier would easily cast the drugmaker in a terrible light?
Granted, the vast majority of people were probably not paying attention to the trial in Texas, or were even aware that it was taking place. Investors hardly blinked. But the media was on hand to track day-to-day events and dispatches were then Tweeted around the Internet. As a result, the stinging testimony lives on indefinitely for anyone to learn how J&J brazenly pursued market share, infamous corporate credo, notwithstanding. By last week, J&J had little choice but to settle, and the willingness of the Texas AG to accept a comparatively small payout made this decision a no-brainer. But going to court and enduring those few days of testimony was akin to allowing Humpty Dumpty to sit on the edge of a ledge. To some, J&J will always be bigger than the sum of its parts, but the Risperdal trial was just another example of a once-venerable – and now broken – image.