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Texas suit against J&J over drug goes to trial

Opening statements set in Texas lawsuit seeking $1 billion from J&J over anti-psychotic drug By The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) ' Texas prosecutors say drug maker Johnson & Johnson and some of its subsidiaries schemed to plunder hundreds of millions of dollars from the state Medicaid program by overstating the safety of an anti-psychotic drug and should be forced to repay that money plus penalties.

Opening arguments began Tuesday in a trial in which the state is asking a jury to award the state as much as $1 billion to recover more than $570 million in prescriptions paid plus penalties.

A lawyer for the company, which is facing similar claims in other states, insists Johnson & Johnson did not manipulate the Texas system which listed the drug Risperdal among its preferred medications for treating schizophrenia.

Johnson & Johnson says the drug was an improvement over earlier anti-psychotic drugs and that testimony from doctors will support its use.

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