As news of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) plan to announce a $4 billion settlement to resolve over 7,500 federal and state lawsuits involving recalled J&J hip implant products spilled out earlier today via a Bloomberg news article, officials from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, pointed out that the enormity of the settlement for J&J’s wrongdoing underscores the immense wealth and greed of the pharmaceutical industry. The news follows closely on the heels of last week’s announcement of a $2.2 billion fine levied against J&J by the Department of Justice over J&J’s illegal marketing of its antipsychotic drugs.
“In a two week period, Johnson & Johnson, one of America’s most trusted brands, will have racked up over six billion dollars in fines and legal settlement costs for its wrongdoing—six billion dollars,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF. “The fact that Johnson and Johnson can so readily consent to billion-dollar fines and/or legal settlements shows both the incredible wealth—and greed—of the pharmaceutical industry. J&J’s latest transgressions and news of this pending settlement also underscore a growing pattern of greed and abuse that governs the pharmaceutical industry as a whole today.”
In a separate matter involving wrongdoing by J&J, AHF recently sued Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries in the Superior Court of California for cheating on its AIDS drug pricing and overcharging AHF by as much as $2 million on HIV/AIDS drugs purchased between 2005-2012. AHF’s lawsuit alleges that the companies have “…failed to fully satisfy their obligations with respect to the drugs they sold to AHF over a period of many years,” under the 340B Program, a Federal drug discount program designed to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible for safety net healthcare providers such as AHF. The J&J Companies include Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Therapeutics and Janssen Biotech. Together, they control a significant portion of the AIDS drug market with drugs that include Prezista, Intelence, Endurant and Procrit.
AHF’s lawsuit against J&J was filed Wednesday, October 30, 2013, in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, Central District [ case #BC526253 ]. The action against J&J includes claims of “Violation of California Unfair Competition Law; Breach of Contract—Third Party Beneficiary; Negligence; Unjust Enrichment and Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.”