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Drugmaker Loses Bid to Dismiss False Claims Suit

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals must face 41 claims of patent violation in a whistleblower lawsuit, a federal judge ruled.

Bentley Hollander sued the New-Jersey based drug company in March 2010, saying it knew, or should have known, that it was using expired patents to mark various forms of the antipsychotic risperdone, shampoos containing ketoconazole, terconazole cream for yeast infections, the antibiotic ofloxacin and Alzheimer's disease treatment galantamine hydrobromide.

The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary tried to dismiss the suit, in which the United States has intervened as a plaintiff, claiming the presence of the drugs' patent information in the Food and Drug Administration's Orange Book precluded Hollander's suit under the False Claims Act.

Senior U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter disagreed Tuesday in an 12-page order and opinion, finding that Hollander can plausibly allege that the drugmaker was trying to deceive the marketplace and stifle competition.

Buckwalter cited a prior ruling that found the onus is on the patentee, not consumers or competitors, to make patent information available.

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