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Posted on July 12, 2011

A $70 million lawsuit was filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Depuy Orthopaedics’ parent company, last week by a company claiming that the J&J interfered with a sales agreement related to an oral cancer prevention product. According to the complaint the plaintiff in the case, Oral Cancer Prevention International (OCPI), claims that J&J did so to protect sales of Listerine, its well-known mouth wash. The three charges on which the lawsuit was based are fraud, tortious interference with contract, and civil conspiracy.

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The contract in question is one that was agreed upon between OCPI and OraPharma, Inc, a former J&J subsidiary. OraPharma had been the exclusive distributor of OCPI’s Oral CDx Brush Test, a product designed to identify precancerous cells in the mouth. Allegedly, after a study published in Australia identified a link between mouth cleaning products with a high alcohol content and the development of oral cancer, J&J sought to suppress sales of the Oral CDx Brush Test, not wanting to “lend credence to the link between Listerine and oral cancer.”

J&J’s spokespeople have been quick to assert that they have engaged in proper business practices and the company is expected to fight the allegations. The complaint was filed on July 6th in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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This is just another issue added to the list of legal headaches J&J has had to face as of late. As the parent company of DePuy Orthopaedics, J&J is already dealing with a rash of lawsuits regarding the medical device manufacturer’s Pinnacle hip replacement device. According to complaints, the product was badly-designed and prone to premature failure in patients that receive the device in hip replacement surgery. The Pinnacle litigation is far from over at this point but it is progressing.

If you have received a Pinnacle hip replacement device and have suffered harm due to its premature failure, you could be entitled to compensation from DePuy Orthopaedics. For a free consultation regarding your potential DePuy Pinnacle lawsuit, please fill out this brief contact form.

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