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When state attorneys general suspect that a drug company is engaging in illegal marketing, they have two options: sue the company in their home state (usually with the help of a law firm working on a contingency) or participate in a multi-state settlement. Johnson & Johnson’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal have been a goldmine for state AGs who went it alone. Now it’s also paid dividends for the AGs who opted to work together. In what is being called the largest multi-state health care fraud settlement ever, J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit agreed on Thursday to pay $181 million to resolve claims by 35 states and the District of Columbia that it defrauded state Medicaid agencies by promoting Risperdal (and another antipsychotic, Invega) for off-label uses. J&J will not admit any wrongdoing. A press release by the New York State attorney general’s office, which participated in the settlement, called it the largest multi-state health care fraud settlement ever.

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