According to the suit filed by the federal government, Johnson & Johnson and two of its subsidiaries paid money, in various forms, to the nation’s largest pharmacy, Omnicare, which dispenses drugs to the elderly and nursing home patients.
The kickbacks were given “to induce the nursing home pharmacy company to purchase and recommend J&J drugs, including the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.”
Omnicare’s pharmacists make recommendations to physicians of elderly patients as to what should be prescribed. Doctors chose Omicare’s suggestions more than 80% of the time
The assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Department of Justice described these kickbacks as distorting the judgment of healthcare professionals and allowing profit to be placed above reliable medical treatment.
As the federal government and several states continue to deal with this civil liability, the public — and especially those receiving care in nursing facilities — must wonder if this is an isolated case? After the largest and most depended upon of companies and pharmacies make decisions for their own gain, how can the public trust what drugs are promoted and prescribed?