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Judge: Big Pharma Lawsuit May Proceed

A judge has ruled the state may continue its legal challenge against the pharmaceutical company Janssen over allegations it offered officials kickbacks to get a schizophrenia medicine on a preferred drug list.

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A district judge has ruled the Texas Attorney General's Office may continue its legal challenge against the drug company Janssen over its schizophrenia drug Risperdal.

Texas' lawsuit alleges Janssen used false advertising and offered trips and kickbacks to state health officials to get Risperdal listed on the Texas Medication Algorithm, which mandates the use of certain drugs for adults whose medications are paid for by the state.

Janssen Pharmaceutical and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, had asked that the case be thrown out on summary judgment. On Thursday, Travis County District Court Judge John Dietz ruled in the state's favor, allowing the case to proceed to a jury trial.

Records in the civil suit allege Janssen defrauded the state repeatedly over the last 10 years to get Risperdal a spot on the state's Medicaid preferred drug list, and on controversial medical protocols that determine which drugs are given to adults and kids in state custody.

Texas has spent millions of state Medicaid dollars on the drug, which some studies show performs no better than cheap generics, and can lead to diabetes and excessive weight gain, particularly in children.

Janssen officials have continued to deny any wrongdoing in Texas and are fighting the suit, in which the state seeks to recover millions of dollars. The company has continued to assert its commitment to "high ethical standards and responsible behavior." 

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Courts Criminal justice Health care State government 82nd Legislative Session Attorney General's Office Department of State Health Services Health And Human Services Commission Medicaid Texas Legislature