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Jurors begin deliberating in J&J trial in Arkansas

Chuck Bartels, Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Jurors have begun deliberating in Arkansas' billion-dollar lawsuit against a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that makes the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

Arkansas contends that Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. downplayed and hid risks associated with Risperdal. Attorney Fletch Trammel says the company lied to doctors by saying the drug didn't cause weight gain, diabetes and other adverse side effects. The state wants a minimum of $1.2 billion in fines for the 250,000 prescriptions issued under its Medicaid program over a 3½-year period.

Janssen attorney James Simpson says the state failed to show that the drug's labeling or packaging was misleading, deceptive or false.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday.

Janssen settled a similar lawsuit with Texas in January for $158 million, but did not admit liability or fault.