in Arkansas?…

Posted on Thursday 29 March 2012

The legal system is difficult for me. I respect it, but I’m often confused by it. It seems to thrive on logical fallacy and concrete details. Abstract thinking and judgement appears forbidden. And a trial is more like a chess game than a search for the truth. There was a point in the Texas Risperdal trial after an indicting testimony by Arnold Fried where the cross examiner went on and on with a monologue interrupted only occasionally by a yes/no question detailing the Janssen party  line. I can’t imagine that the Jury couldn’t see that the lawyer was afraid of to let the witness talk, but was using the monologue to try to sell them on his client’s benevolence. I started to doodle. Others took a pee-break. It was agonizing, boring, almost child-like. J&J is appealing losses in South Carolina and Louisiana, having won their appeal in West Virginia. Only the Texas loss has been settled definitively. So now it’s State number five, Arkansas:
J&J Duped Arkansas Doctors Over Risperdal, Lawyer Tells Jury
By Jef Feeley, Eric Francis and Margaret Cronin Fisk
March 27, 2012

Johnson & Johnson [JNJ] officials repeatedly misled Arkansas doctors about the safety of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, and the drugmaker should be held responsible for those deceptions, a lawyer said. J&J’s Janssen unit made misleading claims about Risperdal’s health risks and effectiveness in a letter to more than 6,200 Arkansas doctors, violating the state’s deceptive-trade practices law, one of the state’s lawyers told a jury in Little Rock today. Arkansas is seeking more than $1.25 billion in penalties over the campaign. “By the time this case is over, we will prove to you that Janssen lied about Risperdal’s dangers just to make money,” Fletcher Trammell, an attorney for Arkansas, told jurors in opening statements in the state-court trial over J&J’s Risperdal marketing tactics.

It’s the fifth jury trial over states’ claims that J&J, the second-biggest maker of health products, hid Risperdal’s diabetes risks and tricked Medicaid regulators into paying millions of dollars more than they should have for the medicine. J&J ended the most recent trial in Texas with a $158 million settlement in January. The Texas settlement won court approval today.

J&J has said it provided proper warnings about diabetes risks on Risperdal’s label and that U.S. regulators approved those disclosures. Efforts to tie labeling claims to Medicaid fraud should fail because “compliance with federal drug labeling statutes and regulations is not a condition of payment or participating in” a state Medicaid program, J&J said in a July 2010 court filing.

Janssen didn’t engage in deceptive trade practices and didn’t harm anyone, James Simpson, a company lawyer, told the jury today. “The state will not present any evidence that a single person was injured while taking Risperdal,” Simpson said in his opening statement. “There will not be any evidence that the state of Arkansas lost a penny in paying for Risperdal for thousands of Arkansas citizens who needed the drug”…

Same opening gambits, same Reuters reporters, same chess game being played out once again. It reminds me of that saying, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results."

Texas may have been a turning point in that J&J wasn’t willing to go to the jury and settled with no chance of appeal. In the earlier ones, they let it play out. People thought the Texas settlements was low. The truth about it was that it was sure. LA and SC are still tied up in appeals. With Texas sitting there, the States are probably going to feel more empowered to either ask for larger settlements or go to a Jury. Who ever knows? But that’s just my thought.

This story isn’t close to being over. I’m hoping that the extent of the ghost-writing by Excerpta Medica in this case makes it into open court [see the Rothman Report]. Their comradeship in helping J&J actively corrupt and contaminate our psychiatric literature is yet untold. Maybe it’ll happen in Arkansas?…

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