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Texas Suit Against J&J Over Drug Goes to Trial

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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.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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