An Arkansas judge has ordered U.S. drug company Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $1.1 billion in fines as punishment for misleading doctors and patients about the risks of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
As Bloomberg News reports, the fines are based on “more than 238,000 violations of the state’s Medicaid fraud laws” by J&J for “illegally marketing Risperdal over an almost four-year period starting in 2002.” With the judge finding that each violation carried a $5,000 fine, the total levied topped $1.1 billion.
J&J was sued by 11 state attorneys general over the drug, and two other state cases have already resulted in fines – though not as large as the one in Arkansas. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Justice Department is also involved, and is demanding that the company “pay about $1.8 billion to resolve the civil claims by federal regulators and some state attorneys general.”
Federal investigators in India are moving forward with a formal bribery investigation in the wake of a startling accusation from the country’s top army official.
General Vijay Kumar Singh recently rocked India’s political and military establishment when he said a defense lobbyist offered him a $2.8 million bribe if he would purchase of nearly 600 sub-standard trucks.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, has now “registered a preliminary enquiry” into the complaint. According to the BBC, “a preliminary investigation is the formal beginning of a probe but during this phase the investigators do not have powers to question, search or arrest.”
The lobbyist accused of offering the bribe – himself a retired general – has so far denied the charges.
Sweep to India launches army bribe probe
Richard Michael Parks, the former administrator for Salt Lake County’s AmeriCorps program in Utah, pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court to a slew of fraud and theft charges.
As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, Parks is charged with “mishandling funds during an 8-year tenure, in which he allegedly paid employees for hours not worked and awarded questionable bonuses.”
Parks’ jobs “included managing, controlling and reconciling AmeriCorps contracts, accounts, funds and grants for the AmeriCorps program in Utah.” AmeriCorps is a U.S. public service program that sends mostly young adults to work for a year or more in underprivileged American neighborhoods.
Parks allegedly made improper payments totaling nearly $100,000 to five AmeriCorps workers.