Johnson & Johnson is asking a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit alleging the company paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to induce broader use of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The whistleblower suit--joined by the U.S. government--involves the pharmacy services firm Omnicare, which has settled claims that it accepted kickbacks in return for pushing certain drugs, including the J&J medication.
In arguments before U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns, J&J lawyers contended that discounts it offered Omnicare are standard across the industry, and that they don't violate kickback laws. But government lawyers maintain that the discounts amount to kickbacks because doctors who were encouraged to prescribe Risperdal didn't know about Omnicare's volume discounts, the Associated Press reports.
For its part, Omnicare has said that it didn't admit any wrongdoing in its settlement with the government. J&J, of course, says it did nothing wrong.
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