Johnson & Johnson is the seventh most valuable public company in America, producing many popular name brand items, such as Neutrogena, Listerine, Visine, Tylenol, Splenda, Aveeno and more. However, more than 80% of its revenue and 91 percent of profits come from its high-margin medical devices and prescription drugs — including Risperdal.
Risperdal received FDA approval in August 2007 for the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents, aged 13 to 17, and for the short-term treatment of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder in children and adolescents aged 10 to 17. This was the very first FDA approved antipsychotic drug to treat either of these disorders in children.
Damaging Risperdal side effects
Thousands of Risperdal lawsuits have been filed across the country, alleging that the drug can cause very serious side effects that have not been disclosed by Johnson & Johnson. In February 2015, a jury found that Risperdal had physically deformed an Alabama boy, after his the company had encouraged his doctor to prescribe it, without informing of the associated risks. Austin Pledger, who suffers from severe autism, began developing breasts nine years ago at age 12 that eventually grew to a size 46DD.
When Austin started taking Risperdal, the Food and Drug Administration had barred Johnson & Johnson salespeople from promoting the drug to doctors as a way to treat children, because of unknown side effects. The company’s sales teams were also forbidden from promoting the drug to treat the elderly — except for those suffering from the most severe conditions — as it was thought to cause strokes, diabetes and other ailments in seniors.
Despite FDA instructions, the Johnson & Johnson was already earning more than half of its Risperdal sales from prescriptions written for children and the elderly.
During Austin’s trial, Johnson & Johnson emails, sales training manuals and business plans were used as evidence to reveal that the company illegally created special sales units that targeted doctors who treat children and the elderly. Additionally, state mental institutions treating children, with drugs paid for by Medicaid, were also pursued. The salesman who gave thousands of child-sized doses of Risperdal to Austin’s doctor even tried to insist he didn’t realize he was in the office of a pediatric neurologist — despite the presence of kiddie furniture and toys.
J&J spends billions to settle Risperdal lawsuits
Austin’s case is certainly not the only Risperdal lawsuit brought against the company. To-date, Johnson & Johnson has already settled thousands of cases regarding the illegal promotion of Risperdal — including Department of Justice civil and criminal complaints — for a total that is nearing $3 billion. In the grand scheme of things, this barely impacts the company’s financials, as its 2014 before-tax profits totaled $20.6 billion.
The company isn’t even the only one engaging in these practices, as eight of the other nine pharmaceutical giants have settled claims over the past decade similar to Risperdal allegations. In fact, the charges have ultimately come and gone without any lasting harm to their balance sheets.
Speak with a Risperdal attorney you can trust
If you or a loved one has suffered severe Risperdal side effects, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages. Contact the experienced Risperdal attorneys at The Sanders Firm today at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY to schedule a free consultation. Resources
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Approves Risperdal for Two Psychiatric Conditions in Children and Adolescents, https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2007/ucm108969.htm
- The Huffington Post, America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker, https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/miracleindustry/americas-most-admired-lawbreaker/
- The Huffington Post, Letter From the Editors https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/miracleindustry/americas-most-admired-lawbreaker/chapter-1.html#overlay=editors-letter