LA jury goes after J&J for anti psychotic medication

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - A St. Landry Parish jury says health products maker Johnson & Johnson owes the state nearly $258 million for misleading Louisiana doctors about the possible side effects of one of its anti psychotic medications.

The ruling was handed down Thursday in Opelousas. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company said it will appeal the verdict.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's office had argued the company, through its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc., had violated a state law against misrepresentation and fraud.

Caldwell's office says Johnson & Johnson and Janssen sent letters to more than 7,500 doctors and made more than 27,000 phone calls that improperly claimed its schizophrenia drug Risperdal was safer than other competing medications and minimized Risperdal's link to diabetes.