Rutledge Reaches $33 Million Settlement with Johnson & JohnsonWed, May 24, 2017
Arkansas will receive nearly $500,000
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has joined with 42 other attorneys general in a $33 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson to resolve allegations that the company, acting through McNeil-PPC Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, unlawfully promoted its over-the-counter drugs as complying with federally mandated current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) even though the Food and Drug Administration found that some McNeil manufacturing facilities did not comply with current GMPs between 2009 and 2011. Moreover, some McNeil over-the-counter drugs were deemed adulterated as a matter of federal law.
“Federal and state standards are put in place to safeguard consumers from harm but also to maintain quality,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The deceitful actions of Johnson & Johnson resulted in recalls of some of the most common over-the-counter medicines that Arkansans use. Today 43 states are holding this company accountable for its negligence that flooded the market with phantom drugs while padding its bottom line.”
Today’s filing alleges that Johnson & Johnson acting through McNeil violated consumer protection laws by delivering for introduction into state markets certain batches of over-the-counter drugs that failed to comply with federal standards, and as such, were deemed adulterated. McNeil’s alleged quality control lapses resulted in recalls of drugs manufactured between 2009 and 2011 including Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, St. Joseph Aspirin, Sudafed, Pepcid, Mylanta, Rolaids, Zyrtec and Zyrtec Eye Drops, several of which are indicated for pediatric use.
Arkansas will receive $499,138.58 of the $33 million settlement.
The consent judgment requires Johnson & Johnson to ensure that its marketing and promotional practices do not unlawfully promote over-the-counter products. Specifically, the company and its subsidiary shall not:
- Represent on its websites that the over-the-counter products manufacturing facilities meet current GMP as outlined by the FDA if McNeil has had a Class I or Class II recall of over-the-counter drug products within the prior 12 months. Class I recalls involve situations in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. Class II recalls involve situations in which use of or exposure to a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote;
- Fail to follow its internal standard operating polices regarding whether to open a Corrective Action/Preventive Action plan during the manufacture of an over-the-counter drug; and
- Fail to provide information to participating attorneys general within 60 days of a written request regarding the identity of wholesalers or warehouses to which any over-the-counter drugs that were subject to a recall were distributed in their state.
Pennsylvania and Texas led the Executive Committee, which also included attorneys general from Arizona, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey and Ohio.
Rutledge participated in today’s settlement along with attorneys general from Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Pulaski County Man for Crimes Involving ChildrenTue, May 23, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of Christopher Michael Williams of Little Rock on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.
Williams, 27, was arrested by the Attorney General’s office Cyber Crimes Unit. He is being held in the Pulaski County Jail on $200,000 bond.
Special agents in the Attorney General’s office began investigating Williams after agents determined that someone using a computer at Williams’ address downloaded sexually explicit material involving children.
Rutledge Reaches $18.5 Million Settlement with TargetTue, May 23, 2017
Arkansas will receive over $226,000
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Arkansas has joined with 46 other states and the District of Columbia in an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve an investigation into the retail company’s 2013 data breach. The breach affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and contact information for more than 60 million customers.
“Target failed to take appropriate action prior to 2013 to properly protect the personal financial information of its millions of customers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Their decision has left many Arkansans susceptible to identity theft and forced many to close bank accounts and credit cards after their information was stolen. Because of the work of this multistate group, Target must properly protect the data of its customers.”
The investigation, which was led by Connecticut and Illinois, found that in November 2013, cyber attackers accessed Target’s gateway server through credentials stolen from a third-party vendor. The credentials were then used to exploit weaknesses in Target’s system, which allowed the attackers to access a customer service database and install malware. This malware captured data, including consumer’s full names, telephone numbers, email addresses, mailing address, payment card numbers, expiration dates, Card Verification Value (CVV1) and encrypted debit PINs.
In addition to the monetary payment to the states, of which Arkansas will receive $226,438.37, the settlement agreement requires Target to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive information security program and employ an executive or officer who is responsible for executing the program. The company is required to hire an independent, qualified third-party to conduct a comprehensive security assessment.
The settlement further requires Target to maintain and support software on its network, to maintain appropriate encryption policies, particularly as it pertains to cardholder and personal information data, to segment its cardholder data environment from the rest of its computer network and to undertake steps to control access to its network, including implementing password rotation policies and two-factor authentication for certain accounts.
In addition to Arkansas, Connecticut and Illinois, today’s settlement includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Rutledge Urges EPA Task Force to Rollback Job-Killing RegulationsFri, May 19, 2017
Says, ‘The EPA has a unique and important opportunity right now to evaluate its regulatory programs’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s request for public comment on what regulations should be considered appropriate for change.
The coalition of eight attorneys general are providing a specific list of federal regulations that should be repealed, replaced or modified after President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order in February directing federal agencies to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force. This task force will evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to the agency regarding their repeal, replacement or modification.
“The EPA has a unique and important opportunity right now to evaluate its regulatory programs and identify what is working and not working,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “More importantly, it is a chance for the EPA to return its focus to the rule of law as it develops rules and regulations. With Administrator Pruitt, attorneys general have a welcoming and working partner at the table, and I have a duty on behalf of Arkansans to provide a list of regulations that should be rolled back.”
The letter highlights the EPA’s need to review a number of Obama-era regulations, streamline the process for allowing states to administer their own water permitting programs and revise regulations to improve the way individual states implement federal rules.
“During the Obama administration, we experienced first-hand the devastating effects of unlawful executive overreach on jobs and our states’ local energy economies,” the attorneys general write. “We welcome the opportunity to participate in the process of scaling back these unlawful regulations, restoring the rule of law and ultimately returning key decisions about energy production and priorities to the states and their citizens.”
Rutledge and her colleagues are recommending repeal, replacement or modification of the following Obama era rules: the so-called Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S. rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Oil and Gas Methane New Source Performance Standards and the Greenhouse Gas Reporting rule.
Because the EPA had chosen to ignore the clear intent of the laws passed by Congress and comments submitted in opposition to proposed rules, Rutledge was previously forced to challenge the so-called Clean Power Plan, which included winning a historic and unprecedented stay at the U.S. Supreme Court; Waters of the U.S., which currently has a nationwide stay blocking enforcement; Federal Implementation Plan for Regional Haze; Mercury and Air Toxics Standards; Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction standard changes for State Implementation Plans; and the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Rutledge is joined on the letter by attorneys general from Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Rutledge Calls for Federal Legislation to Return Prescription Drug Settlement Money to the StatesWed, May 17, 2017
Joins 50 other attorneys general in letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Ranking Member
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has sent a letter to U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) calling on them to introduce legislation that would allow the federal government to return prescription drug settlement money to the states.
“If Arkansas and other states are going to continue to share the burden of funding this important prescription drug benefit, then it is only logical that when fraud occurs the states receive a share of the money,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans expect to be treated honestly and fairly in the marketplace, but right now the states are being forced into a bad deal with the federal government.”
At issue is a prescription drug benefit, known as Medicare Part D, for individuals covered by both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which are paid for by the federal government and states. Over the last decade, the federal government has recovered tens of millions of dollars in pharmaceutical settlements involving Part D drugs; however, the states have never received any share of the money.
“A specific statute authorizing the federal government to share recoveries with the states is appropriate here as a matter of equity and fundamental fairness,” the attorneys general write in the letter. “We request your assistance in addressing this inequity and recommend federal legislation that would allow the federal government to return a proportionate share of all Part D recoveries to the states.”
Led by attorneys general from Ohio and North Carolina, Rutledge is joined on the letter by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Rutledge Seeks Nominations for Law Enforcement Officers of the YearMon, May 15, 2017
One officer from all 75 counties, five regional and a statewide honoree will be announced at Law Enforcement Summit
LITTLE ROCK – On National Peace Officers Memorial Day and as part of National Police Week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has opened nominations for Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year awards to be presented at the 15th annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit this fall.
In addition to the statewide and regional Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year awards, Rutledge, as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer, will recognize one law enforcement officer from each county as an Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer. These awards recognize college or university, municipal, county or State law enforcement officers who go the extra mile. Nominations will be accepted from police chiefs, county sheriffs, county judges, mayors, prosecutors and other law enforcement leaders from across Arkansas.
“On this Peace Officers Memorial Day, I am honored to call for nominations for our outstanding officers and to recognize them for their dedication to our communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Sitting at the funeral of Lt. Kevin Mainhart of Yell County, I thought of the dangers our police officers face each day to protect and serve family, friends and strangers alike. May God bless all of our officers in Arkansas and across the country.”
Registration is open for the annual Law Enforcement Summit, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. A full schedule and list of speakers for the event will be announced at a later date. To nominate a law enforcement officer, visit ArkansasAG.gov.