Conway moves to intervene in case against J&J

John O'Brien Apr. 19, 2010, 2:17pm


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway wants to join a lawsuit filed by the federal government against pharmaceutical maker Johnson & Johnson.

The lawsuit alleges J&J and two subsidiaries, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, paid kickbacks to the nation's largest pharmacy in exchange for its drugs to be purchased and recommended for use in nursing homes.

That pharmacy, Omnicare, reached a $98 million settlement with several states and the federal government in November that resolved the allegations.

"The allegations set out by the Department of Justice are disturbing, and I will not allow pharmaceutical companies to come into the Commonwealth and interfere with the health and safety of Kentucky seniors," Conway said Friday.

"The complaint... describes a kickback scheme that distorted the judgments of doctors and put the bottom line ahead of patient need."

Conway is asking a federal judge in Massachusetts to allow him to intervene in the case and plans to file a complaint if granted.

The alleged scheme came to light after five whistleblower lawsuits were filed. The Department of Justice filed its complaint against J&J in January in two consolidated whisteblower lawsuits.

The DOJ's complaint said J&J gave kickbacks to Omnicare in the forms of levels of rebates if J&J's drugs were prescribed, millions of dollars in payments for data Omnicare never provided and "grants" and "educational funding."

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