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UPDATE: J&J to Record $600 Million Charge Due to Outstanding Lawsuits

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--J&J to take litigation charge of about $600 million in second quarter

--Charge deals with litigation surrounding drugs Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor

--Took $1.1 billion litigation charge in the fourth quarter of 2011

(Updated to include details of previous litigation charge in the third paragraph.)

By Ben Fox Rubin

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said it plans to record a special charge of roughly $600 million in its second quarter to increase its accrual for potential legal settlements, as it has faced a series of lawsuits over accusations of bribery and improper drug-marketing practices.

The company said the settlement payments stem for a series of outstanding civil cases that involve its drugs Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor, as well as nursing-home pharmacy operator Omnicare Inc. (OCR).

In the fourth quarter, J&J recorded a $1.1 billion charge related to litigation settlements. At the time, Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso said the litigation costs were primarily linked to Risperdal. The company didn't have a similar charge in its April first-quarter report.

The health-care products company has faced lawsuits related to alleged off-label promotion of its antipsychotic treatment Risperdal, which was once J&J's top-selling drug before generic copycats hit the market, as well as legal challenges over off-label promotion of another schizophrenia treatment, Invega, and the heart-failure drug Natrecor.

Furthermore, the federal government is suing J&J, accusing it of paying kickbacks to induce Omnicare to encourage use of Risperdal and other J&J drugs.

J&J also has dealt with state lawsuits regarding its promotion of Risperdal, including an Arkansas case in which the company in April was ordered to pay $1.2 billion after a jury found that J&J's past marketing of the drug violated the state's consumer-protection laws. J&J previously was ordered to pay $327 million in a South Carolina case and $258 million in Louisiana. The company is appealing all three cases.

In January, J&J agreed to settle a Texas case for $158 million.

Meanwhile, the company agreed to pay an $85 million fine in a criminal case regarding off-label marketing of Natrecor. Parallel civil litigation still hasn't been settled.

The company in April said its first-quarter earnings rose on a foreign-exchange-related gain tied to an acquisition and lower expenses.

Shares closed Friday at $62.98 and were unchanged after hours. The stock is down 4% so far this year.

--Anjali Athavaley contributed to this report.

Write to Ben Fox Rubin at ben.rubin@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 08, 2012 18:07 ET (22:07 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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