According to Reuters, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear the Risperdal appeal, thereby letting the lower court's ruling stand. Previously, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a jury decision ordering Janssen Therapeutics to pay millions of dollars in civil penalties for concealing the risks of the anti-psychotic drug, Risperdal.
Janssen Therapeutics is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and also distributes the HIV drugs rilpivirine, darunavir, and etravirine.
Risperdal, which is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, has been at the center of several court cases against Janssen for improperly marketing Risperdal for off label uses.
Between 1999 and 2005, the company illegally advertised the drug as a treatment for dementia-related symptoms such as anxiety, depression, hostility and confusion. Risperdal is not approved by the FDA for such use. In addition, Janssen promoted Risperdal by stating it did not cause diabetes, even though the company reportedly knew diabetes was a potential side-effect.
Furthermore, Johnson & Johnson was found to have paid kickbacks to Omnicare Inc., for using Risperdal in nursing homes. Omnicare is the largest pharmacy dispensary specializing in nursing homes. The collusion between these companies meant that those most affected by the misbranding of Risperdal were elderly patients in nursing home settings.
In 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice reported that Johnson & Johnson had settled with the U.S. government to pay over $2.2 billion in fines for criminal and civil liabilities related to the disception and kickbacks
South Carolina filed its own claims against the company in 2007 and a jury awarded the state $327 million. In June 2015, the state's Supreme Court reduced the award to $124 million. Now that the highest court in the land has refused to hear Johnson & Johnson's appeal, the company must pay the lowered penalty.