CHARLESTON – The state Attorney General’s office has objected to how a settlement with a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary will be distributed.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom was ready to approve West Virginia’s share of a $33 million settlement with McNeil-PPC Inc. before Assistant AG Doug Davis filed an objection. The state will get more than $440,000 of the settlement, which was reached in May.
The lawsuit claimed the company illegally promoted over-the-counter drugs as meeting federal manufacturing standards. But West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said there were issues with the quality and effectiveness of the drugs.
In the proposed distribution order, the West Virginia University College of Law would have received nearly $400,000 to create a program to train law students to assist with drug- and consumer-related issues. Davis’ objection said the money should go to the Center for Drug and Health Information, which is operated by the WVU School of Pharmacy.
The guardian ad litem in the case also doesn’t like the idea of giving the bulk of the money to the law school.
In a court filing, Nick Casey suggested distributing the money to programs operated by the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy and the West Virginia Board of Medicine.
Giving the money to the law school wouldn’t “result in one support of individual consumers of medication,” Casey wrote, adding it should be use “where there is regular interaction with citizens of West Virginia on a diverse array of health and medication issues.”
Also, Casey says the AG’s office should be able to take costs and attorney’s fees from the settlement amount. But he says the rest of money shouldn’t go to the AG’s consumer protection fund.