Double Dose of Justice as J & J Sustains Major Blows with Risperdal
Drug titan Johnson & Johnson was on the receiving end of two stunning court defeats for its marketing and handling of Risperdal, the potent antipsychotic medication.
The initial blow came in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in the first Risperdal lawsuit to go to a jury. Jurors found Johnson & Johnson negligent for failing to warn of the potential of Risperdal to cause gynecomastia, a condition that causes males to grow enlarged breasts and awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million in damages. Johnson & Johnson has settled at least six other Risperdal lawsuits over allegations of similar side effects.
Johnson & Johnson knew of Risperdal risks
The plaintiff, a 20 year old from Alabama, began taking Risperdal when he was just 8 years old to help curb behavioral symptoms related to autism. At that time, Risperdal, approved in 1993 for use in adult schizophrenics, was being marketed heavily by Johnson & Johnson as an antipsychotic medication for children.
During the month long trial, the plaintiff claimed to have developed 46 DD size breasts as a result of his use of the medication and his condition, short of getting a mastectomy, is now permanent. He said that he stopped using the drug in 2006 when he was 12 after the FDA issued a warning about the gynecomastia risk.
Counsel for the plaintiff argued that the manufacturer knew of risks associated with Risperdal, particularly the drug’s propensity to elevate levels of prolactin, the hormone that causes male breast growth.
South Carolina Supreme Court affirms $136 million award
In another legal defeat for Johnson & Johnson, the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed a previous verdict against J & J under the Attorney General’s Unfair Trade Practices Act for “willfully failing to disclose known risks and side effects associated with Risperdal.” Though the original award of $256 million was reduced by the South Carolina Supreme Court award to $136 million, the amount still marks a devastating blow to Johnson & Johnson’s legal team in their uphill legal battle.
There are more than 2,000 Risperdal cases filed in two coordinated actions – one in Los Angeles Superior Court before Judge William Highberger and a second in Philadelphia before Judge Arnold New.
In one of the largest health-care fraud lawsuits in U.S. history, J & J paid $2.2 billion in November 2013 to settle a Risperdal lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice. The settlement included civil recoveries of $1.72 billion under the federal False Claims Act and criminal penalties and forfeitures totaling $485 million.
The Sanders Firm represents 7,000 Risperdal victims
In a recently published press release, Attorney Marc Grossman, founding partner of The Sanders Firm, which represents more than 7,000 Risperdal victims, stated “this jury verdict is the first step in getting compensation for the young boys and men harmed by this drug. J&J making money from young boys who are already wrestling with psychological difficulties, and hiding the fact their drug causes growth of female breasts, is shameful.”
In a Janssen statement issued in response to the verdict, a company spokeswoman said, “We are disappointed and will consider all of our options going forward, including appeals. We firmly believe this verdict should be overturned.”
The product liability attorneys at The Sanders Firm have been on the forefront of major pharmaceutical litigation for more than 45 years on both the state and federal level. We believe that when a dangerous drug causes personal injury or wrongful death, the victims deserve full compensation – for medical expenses, loss of income, emotional trauma, and other economic damages.
The Sanders Firm takes these cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing unless we recover a monetary award on your behalf. To speak with an attorney today, call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Bloomberg Business, J & J Hid Risperdal Risks of Boy Breast Development, Jury Told http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-20/j-j-hid-risperdal-risks-of-boy-breast-development-jury-told
- The Legal Intelligencer, $2.5 Million Verdict Awarded http://www.thelegalintelligencer.com/latest-news/id=1202718794561/25M-Verdict-Awarded-in-First-Phila-Risperdal-Trial?mcode=1395262324557&curindex=0