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FBI nominee played key role in epilepsy drug Topamax case in Boston

Stephen Crowley/New York Times

President Trump’s choice for director of the FBI was the lead lawyer for a pharmaceutical company that agreed in 2010 to pay $81 million to settle federal claims they had illegally promoted the use of the epilepsy drug Topamax.

Christopher A. Wray represented two subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson who were targeted by whistleblower lawsuits in US District Court in Boston for “off-label” marketing of Topamax for use as a psychiatric medicine.

The prosecution of the companies led to an agreement that produced an $81 million fine and an agreement that the company would stop claiming the “off-label” use for Topamax, which was limited by the Food and Drug Administration for use in treating epileptic symptoms.


The $81 million total included a $6.14 million fine to end the criminal case brought against the companies and $75 million to resolve civil False Claims Act for medical bills submitted to the federal government where doctors had prescribed it for psychiatric treatment.

The whistleblowers received $9 million, according to federal officials.

The company, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, also agreed to launch a “corporate integrity agreement” with the Department of Health and Human Services.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.