Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Did you know that Janssen was using you?

The fraud investigator had traced as much detail of Shon’s activities as would make an innocent man blush. The prosecution also exhibited internal Janssen emails referring to Shon’s value to the marketing efforts of the firm. The prosecution asked Shon a question that is coming to be the leitmotif of the trial: Did you know that Janssen was using you? - Kalman Applbaum
While the APA works to intimidate critical bloggers, the Risperdal trial begins in Texas:
Risperdal earned J&J $34 billion during its 17-year patent period. The size and complexity of the machinery necessary to generate revenues on that scale cannot be easily summarized. Those who don’t have firsthand knowledge of how mega corporations work cannot easily comprehend what’s involved.

Explaining this is the very challenge facing the Texas Attorney General’s office in the coming weeks. They have gathered millions of bits of data but have only a handful of hours to make their case to a jury as to how they think J&J could have defrauded the state of $579 million. It is of course too early to tell how they will build their case, but in the plaintiff’s opening statement, attorney Tom Melsheimer accused J&J/Janssen of implementing a “systematic scheme…not a one-time event, not an accident” to turn a drug designated for narrow use in the treatment of schizophrenia into a $34 billion pill, with a 97% profit rate, he said, and to defraud the Texan taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars along the way.

Melsheimer asked the court how the company could have accomplished this feat of unnatural expansion. He alleged four ways: They (1) influenced usage guidelines by bribing Texas officials; (2) illegally promoted the drug for use in children—he added that half the patient population for the drug is under the age of thirteen; (3) made false claims that Risperdal is safer than other antipsychotic drugs; and (4) made claims that, despite costing 45 times as much as generic competitors against which Risperdal could show no superiority, it was cost effective to the tax payer.
Somatosphere is reporting on the trial.

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