The Supreme Court of Louisiana has thrown out nearly $331 million in damages, attorneys fees and court costs against two pharmaceutical companies sued by state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.

The case — James D. “Buddy” Caldwell versus Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc., Et Al (the et al is Johnson & Johnson) — originated in St. Landry Parish in 2004, went to trial in 2010 and was upheld by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal. But the justices on the Supreme Court ruled that Caldwell “failed to establish sufficient facts to prove a cause of action against the defendants” and rejected the lower court findings.

Caldwell, according to the SCOLA ruling, failed to prove that the defendants violated state law. Reuters points out that the Louisiana case was not part of a broader $2.2 billion settlement J&J made last fall with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding marketing practices for the drug.

risperdalThe lawsuit accused Janssen/Johnson & Johnson of violating the Louisiana Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law by making exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the effectiveness of the drug Risperdal, a medication used to treat schizophrenia. Reuters points out that the Louisiana case was not part of a broader $2.2 billion settlement J&J made last fall with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding marketing practices for the drug.

From the SCOLA ruling released Monday:

[T]he Attorney General alleged the defendants “knowingly misrepresent[ed]” that Risperdal was “safer and/or more effective” than other antipsychotics. Further, the Attorney General alleged: that the defendants’ marketing misrepresentations affected the decisions of prescribing physicians, who relied upon the misleading information disseminated by the defendants; that the defendants knew that many of the prescriptions written for Risperdal would be paid for by Louisiana’s Medicaid program; that the State would not have purchased, or reimbursed for, Risperdal had it known of the defendants’ misrepresentations; and that the State had suffered actual damages “in excess of one thousand dollars” related to misrepresentations made by the defendants in the marketing of Risperdal.

A Lafayette attorney who spoke to IND Monthly on background says an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is dead in the water: “The U.S. Supreme Court will not review a decision of the highest court in Louisiana on a matter of Louisiana law. The claim is over."

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