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Judge imposes $1.2 billion penalty in J&J trial

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was originally published April 11, 2012 at 6:54 a.m. Updated April 11, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox imposed a $1.2 billion fine on Janssen Pharmaceutica on Wednesday morning.

His decision comes one day after a jury of six men and six women found that the company committed Medicaid fraud and engaged in deceptive trade practices by hiding or downplaying potentially dangerous side effects of its Risperdal anti-psychotic medication.

The judge said the fine is the minimum amount set forth in Arkansas' fraud statutes — $5,000 per offense — and is based on 238,874 prescriptions paid for by Arkansas' Medicaid program.

Janssen Pharmaceutica, a subsidiary of drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.

The company has laid the groundwork for an appeal in the case, brought in 2007 by Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, but has yet to file it.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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