The Yellow Brick Road of Risperdal
Updated: September 29, 2014
February 11, 2014
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceutical’s
Yellow Brick Road of
Over 1,207 Children suffered serious problems
Including 31 children who died, 11 of which for off-label promotion
A Time Line to a $2.2Billion Fine
1985 Gary Pruden hired at Janssen Pharmecutica (1985-2001) where, according to his bio on the Johnson & Johnson website, he held a ‘number of senior positions in sales, marketing, and strategic account management.’ That’s certainly a vague descripton of executive positions. I sure hope someone at Johnson & Johnson updates Gary’s bio, surely that was an over site and not meant to distance him via SEO regarding Risperdal and the billion dollar fines, is it? Updated: According to court documents, there was a deposition of Gary Pruden, listed as Janssen Director of Marketing page 3 bottom (http://propulsid.laed.uscourts.gov/Orders/jointr7.pdf)
1988 Alex Gorsky is hired at Janssen Pharmecutica (1988-2003) where, according to the Johnson & Johnson bio company bio for ‘15 years, he advanced through positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, and management.’
Yet, from 1998 to 2003 – according to the government’s complaint — Gorsky was vice president of marketing for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit then became president. He was responsible for selling Risperdal, a drug whose biggest customer was Omnicare, according to the government. Sales of Risperdal increased tremendously during that time.”
It’s a good thing we caught the Johnson & Johnson over site, inadvertently leaving such an important title, like Alex Gorsky VP of Sales and Marketing for Janssen Pharmaceuticals from Mr. Gorsky’s illustrious bio., it must be an error. Oh I’m sure heads will roll when they realize the over site and correct it immediately. Should we expect flowers as a thank-you?’
How insulting to Gary Pruden and Alex Gorsky that their executive titles from their tenure at Janssen Pharmaceuticals were glossed over by Johnson & Johnson. Oh wait, or is it insulting to us?
1993 Risperdal is approved by the FDA as an atypical antipsychotic to treat manic or mixed delusional episodes such as schizophrenia. It rapidly becomes one of the most popular and profitable drugs in America
1996 Risperdal prescriptions top one million
1999-2003 Bridget Ross Business Unit Leader, Janssen-Ortho., Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
2001 The Miami Herald begins to report that Risperdal is causing severe side effects when used as a chemical restraint on “unruly” juveniles in Florida foster homes (Are these the same side effects where 31 childrend died (11 of which were off label) and where adolescent males produced breasts while on Risperdal?)
2001, Promoted Alex Gorsky to President of Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. Was Alex Gorsky promoted from Sales and Marketing for Janssen Pharmaceutials? Or from the a receptionist position? The Johnson and Johnson bio is, well, vague on that point.
2001, Gary Pruden named Vice President of Marketing for the Primary Care Franchise and was responsible for establishing significant growth for the Gastrointestinal, Pain, and Mycology businesses. (Wow Big G, that’s some title jump from a ‘number of senior positions in sales, marketing, and strategic account management to VP of Marketing, oh I guess he’s back on to titles now.’)
2002 Janssen Pharmecutica issues a letter to Canadian doctors warning them of the potential risks associated with prescribing Risperdal to elderly patients suffering from senile dementia. Risperdal is allegedly responsible for causing 37 incidents of stroke-like events and blood clots and up to 16 deaths
2003 Risperdal is approved to treat Bipolar disorder by the FDA
2003 April Janssen sends another warning letter, this time to American doctors.
2003-2005 Bridget Ross Executive Director, Global Marketing Leader, Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
2003 Alex Gorsky was named Company Group Chairman of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
2003 Gary Pruden assumed the role of VP of Sales and Marketing for the CNS Franchise in 2003, helping to successfully launch new brands and establish significant new growth. (Again from the company bio, full of titles except when associated with Janssen Pharmecutica-more flowers, you think?)
2004 April, Gary Pruden was appointed President of Janssen-Ortho Inc., headquartered in Toronto, Canada. He also functioned as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. (Again from the company bio, full of titles except when associated specifically with Janssen Pharmecutica, that intern who wrote their bios is so fired…or promoted).
2004 Another Government warning letter (oh no a sign of trouble?)
2004 First sign of trouble and….Alex Gorsky leaves Johnson & Johnson for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where he served as head of the company’s pharmaceuticals business in North America. (2004-2008)
2004 (and the second sign of trouble) Victoria Starr began working at Janssen in 2001 and filed qui tam (whistle blower lawsuit in April 2004, three months after she quits her job.
2004 November, Gary Pruden was appointed to the Board of Directors of Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, the industry association for ethical manufacturers of brand-name, prescription medicines in Canada. (Big G rockin’ more titles)
2005 Risperdal is still the most prescribed antipsychotic in America, with sales topping over 2.1 billion dollars
2005-2008 Bridget Ross VP of Sales & Marketing, Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
2006 January, Gary Pruden was appointed WW President of Ethicon Products and also served as a member of the Ethicon Global Management Board.
2008 Alex Gorsky returned to Johnson & Johnson Company Group Chairman for Ethicon.
2009-2010 Bridget Ross VP of Commercial Analytics Operations, Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
2009 Alex Gorsky was appointed Worldwide Chairman of the Surgical Care Group and member of the Executive Committee. In September 2009, he appointed Worldwide Chairman of the Medical Devices and Diagnostics Group
2010-2011 Bridget Ross Worldwide President, Ethicon Women’s Health & Urology (Ethicon is a Division of Johnson & Johnson (Anyone curious about this Company?)
2011-2013 Bridget Ross Worldwide President at Acclarent a Johnson & Johnson Company (How about this Company?)
2011 Alex Gorsky became Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee (Not just ‘15 years, he advanced through positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, and management.?)
2012 Alex Gorsky, had already given a depostion on a pending jury case where a 17-year -old boy allegedly grew breasts from Risperdal. J&J lawyers argued that Gorsky was too far up the food chain to have firsthand knowledge of the events. But the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that defense attorneys have a memo in which he approved a $500,000 payment to a doctor in 2002 to begin a program at Massachusetts General Hospital with the aim of upping the use of Risperdal for children even though it was approved for adults only at the time. The judge in the case agreed with Johnson & Johnson attorneys and Gorsky did not have to testify.
- The US Government maintained, (Alex Gorsky) “as Vice President of Marketing, and having previously worked closely with J&J’s Medical Development group (which was responsible for developing clinical trial data for Risperdal), he was in a position to know why J&J chose not to inform Omnicare (or members of Janssen’s own sales staff) that, in January 1999, the Food & Drug Administration (‘FDA’) had warned J&J that marketing Risperdal as safe and effective in the elderly would be false and misleading because the drug had not been adequately studied in that population.”
- Or this from the same article: “From 1998 to 2003 – the time period covered by the government’s complaint — Gorsky was vice president of marketing for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit then became president. He was responsible for selling Risperdal, a drug whose biggest customer was Omnicare, according to the government. Sales of Risperdal increased tremendously during that time.”
2013 Johnson & Johnson paid $2.2 billion for off label (false marketing) and kick backs for Janssen Pharmaceutical’s Risperdal, which Alex Gorsky worked for from 1988-2003. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/212771/jj-paying-22-billion-for-false-marketing-kickb.html?prin
Where does yellow brick road paved with Risperdal and billion dollar criminal and civil fines all lead us next?
2014 Johnson & Johnson destroyed thousands of files vaginal mesh implants, a judge says. This is Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon’s Gynecare Prolift.
Oh wait! You don’t think….
Alex Gorsky, Gary Pruden and Bridget Ross (all executives at one point), despite the company’s vague bio, all received numerous promotions during their tenure at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Risperdal. The US Government found Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals guilty of criminal and civil fines for illgeal off label promotion and kickbacks, costing the company $2.2 billion. As consumers, patients and taxpayers, we have to look at companies who are potentially encouraging, rewarding and replicating illegal behavior within their organziaiton. Further still, Alex Gorsky, Gary Pruden and Bridget Ross were all promoted out of Janssen to other divisions of Johnson & Johnson. Over the next few months we’ll follow these players throughout their career, as a case study of sorts.
If you would like to see change within the Johnson & Johnson organization please join the Boycott The Band-Aid Campaign, and send the company a message that it’s not ok to put a Band-Aids on the flesh wound of problems (billion dollar fines, recalls, unethical and or illegal behavior) within their organiztion.