Six years ago, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw sued the drugmaker for violating the state consumer protection act by claiming the meds were safer than rival drugs. McGraw claimed letters and sales brochures distributed to docs were false and misleading as a matter of law, citing warning letters sent by the FDA to J&J for deceptive marketing, Bloomberg News writes. A trial judge subsequently assessed the penalty last year (read this).
But the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia set aside the judgment and ordered a new trial. “The circuit court erred in finding that (J&J's) communications to healthcare providers were false and misleading as a matter of law,” the appellate court ruled. “The FDA’s belief” that J&J violated federal law governing drug labeling and advertising “is not sufficient to establish, as a matter of law, that the appellants’ communications were actually false and misleading,” the court ruled.
So far, the J&J track record on Risperdal goes like this: the drugmaker lost a $258 million jury verdict in Louisiana last month (look here) and, in June, won dismissal of Pennsylvania’s suit alleging health risks were hidden. The drugmaker faces lawsuits in seven other states, Bloomberg notes.