June 25, 2015
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is facing an ongoing class action lawsuit regarding its practice of sending unsolicited advertisements for its antibiotic medication Levaquin by fax. The company recently filed a motion for a summary judgment to avoid a trial, but the motion was denied by US District Judge Freda Wolfson on June 19, 2015. Judge Wolfson’s ruling was made after finding that a pair of faxes sent in 2008 could legally be considered advertisements.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which was enacted by the FCC in 1991, explicitly forbids businesses from sending automated, unsolicited advertisements through calls and faxes. Some companies are able to circumvent these regulations by merely providing information that may help a person or business. However, these companies are prohibited from discussing prices or making any attempt to sell a product, which would constitute an advertisement. Distributing automated advertisements to customers who have agreed to receive those materials is also acceptable, but Janssen did not secure any of these agreements.