J&J hit with $1.1 bln Risperdal penalty in Arkansas

April 11 Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:33pm EDT

April 11 (Reuters) - An Arkansas state judge has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a $1.1 billion penalty for using allegedly fraudulent tactics to sell its Risperdal anti-psychotic medicine.

Arkansas sued the diversified healthcare company, saying it had deceived thousands of doctors in the state by touting the one-time blockbuster medicine as better and safer than rival therapies and marketing it for unapproved uses in children and the elderly.

The state said the company therefore had caused Arkansas to greatly overpay for the treatment.

"We are disappointed with the judge's decision on penalties," said J&J spokeswoman Teresa Mueller, who confirmed the award. She said J&J would appeal the award if the company's motion for a new trial is denied.

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