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America's Most Admired Lawbreaker: Chapter 11, "Fighting Over the Fine Print, Shielding the

Only For the Elderly, Only for a Short Period

By fall 2013, the government and Johnson & Johnson had settled on a new number: $2.2 billion -- $50 million in criminal fines and forfeitures and $1.7 billion for civil damages. Of the total, $335 million was to settle the Omnicare Boston suit and the San Francisco suit related to the heart drug Natrecor. This made the Risperdal portion the largest settlement ever for the illegal marketing of one drug.

As planned, Johnson & Johnson—actually the Janssen unit, a distinction that the J&J lawyers fought for—would plead guilty to one misdemeanor related to marketing to the elderly.

That infuriated Sheller and other plaintiffs lawyers for a simple if non-obvious reason: Getting J&J to admit to selling off-label to the elderly didn’t help them nearly as much as getting them to admit to all of the alleged off-label activities related to children—from the Biederman effort, to the Lego toys, to the “re-analyzing” of the prolactin/gynecomastia data.

Why? Because the children offered far more winnable plaintiffs’ damage cases.

Why? Because while it might be true that thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of elderly patients who took Risperdal had died of strokes or complications from related cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, how was a lawyer supposed to prove that an 80-year-old’s stroke was the result of Risperdal or anything else? A boy with 46DD breasts was a different story.

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To read Chapter 11 in its entirety and view the accompanying materials online, visit The Huffington Post: Highline website:

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