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J & J Asks Judge to Toss Lawsuit Alleging Illegal Promotion of Levaquin, Other Drugs

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Boston, MAJohnson & Johnson recently asked a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit against them which accused the company of paying kickbacks so nursing homes would promote the use of a number of its drugs, including Levaquin.

The pharmaceutical giant allegedly paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to long-term care pharmacy Omnicare Inc. so that it would push Johnson & Johnson medications on seniors, according to the Associated Press.

One of the most alarming alleged examples of this was the promotion of the schizophrenia drug Risperdal to seniors who showed signs of Alzheimer's disease. The news source reports that Risperdal can increase the risk of death in some elderly patients.

The claims, which were made by the government and two whistleblowers, also alleged that Omnicare promoted a number of other painkilling drugs such as Duragesic and Ultram, and an antibiotic, Levaquin, which has been connected to an increased risk in tendon problems.

Johnson & Johnson claims that it gave discounts to Omnicare that were not in violation of anti-kickback laws.

However, Assistant District Attorney Gregg Shapiro said anti-kickback laws do not allow "an agreement to attach strings to the discount," reports the news provider.

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