Critics think Johnson & Johnson got off relatively easy when the company agreed last week to pay $2.2 billion to settle allegations that it marketed its profitable anti-psychotic drug Risperdal and two other drugs for uses not approved by the FDA.
Citing the need to put a decade's worth of litigation behind it, J&J, the New Brunswick, N.J.-based maker of drugs, devices and consumer goods, agreed to the settlement—the third-largest in U.S. healthcare history—and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
But critics say the government should have gone much further in punishing a company accused of selling unapproved drugs to medically vulnerable older people and children. The company was accused of marketing the drugs for unapproved uses between 1999 and 2005. During that period, U.S. sales for Risperdal jumped to $2 billion a year.