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Texas suit against J&J over drug to go 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) ' Jurors will soon be asked by Texas prosecutors to award the state $1 billion in a lawsuit that accuses Johnson & Johnson of overstating the safety of an anti-psychotic drug and influencing its use in the state's Medicaid program.

The New Jersey-based company is promising to vigorously defend itself against those claims and says it's committed to ethical business practices.

Openings statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning in an Austin courtroom. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

A whistle-blower filed the lawsuit, which Texas later joined. It is among dozens of pending state and federal cases alleging illegal marketing practices and kickbacks in an effort by the company or its subsidiaries to boost Risperdal over competing drugs.

Risperdal is a pill for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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