Johnson & Johnson, whose medical devices, medications and equipment are shipped and used all over the world, must pay $2.2 billion after the US Department of Justice found the company guilty of criminal and civil allegations.
The company and its subsidiaries paid the amount to resolve allegations that it had knowingly misbranded several of its best selling drugs, including Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor.
This included promoting the drugs for uses that were never approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. There were also claims that the company's sales force offered physicians bribes known as kickbacks on the condition the doctors prescribed the drug more often.
The resolution, which affected the company on a global scale, was the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice. The payment included criminal fines and forfeiture of $485 million and civil settlements paid to the government of $1.72 billion.
"The conduct at issue in this case jeopardized the health and safety of patients and damaged the public trust," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
"This multibillion-dollar resolution demonstrates the Justice Department’s firm commitment to preventing and combating all forms of health care fraud. And it proves our determination to hold accountable any corporation that breaks the law and enriches its bottom line at the expense of the American people."
Putting profits over people
US Associate Attorney General Tony West stated that all companies responsible for improving the health and wellbeing of the public should be accountable for their actions. When a business puts profit over a patient's health, authorities will "demand accountability", Mr West said.
The resolution includes more than just a major monetary setback for J&J. The company will now have to adhere to strict requirements established under the Corporate Integrity Agreement developed by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
The company's problems aren't limited to the US, though. J&J has been the subject of lawsuits, ranging from medical negligence due to defective hip implants all over the world to price fixing in China.
In Greece, Poland, Romania and Iraq the company has been at the center of allegations of bribery, similar to what was most recently seen.
Those who have been harmed by the actions of this international medical company may want to get in touch with medical negligence lawyers to learn what compensation is available.