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CASE UPDATE: J&J Hit With $8B Punitive Damages Verdict
October 8, 2019 – A Philadelphia jury awarded $8 billion in punitive damages to a young man who developed breasts as a result of J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical’s Risperdal.
Nicholas Murray, a Maryland resident, began using Risperdal in 2003 at the age of 9 to help control symptoms related to his autism.
10 of 12 jurors in the Philadelphia County court found in favor of Murray’s claim that Risperdal’s label failed to warn healthcare professionals and consumers of abnormal breast growth in adolescents.
Murray had previously been awarded $1.75 million in compensatory damages based on the same claim. Due to Maryland’s limit on non-economic damages, that award was later reduced to $680,000.
There are currently 7,000 pending cases against Risperdal in Philadelphia.
A Risperdal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of individuals who used Risperdal to treat symptoms of mental disorders as children and as a result developed gynecomastia.
Thousands of people have filed lawsuits alleging that the drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson’s popular antipsychotic drug Risperdal led to gynecomastia — the development of female breast tissue in males — in those who took the medication during childhood. The lawsuit notes that J&J marketed the drug for young people years before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its use for non-adults.
Risperdal is a powerful, antipsychotic drug used to restore the balance of the brain’s natural chemicals. The FDA approved Risperdal in 1993 to treat adult schizophrenia, acute mania, and mixed episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder.
Manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Risperdal was marketed and prescribed to adolescents — even though the drug was not approved for that particular use until 2006. In 2006 and 2007, the FDA approved Risperdal for additional uses, including the treatment of bipolar disorder in adults and juveniles, schizophrenia in children, and certain behavioral symptoms in children with autism.
However, the marketing of Risperdal prompted doctors to prescribe Risperdal for “off-label” usage, meaning it was not properly tested through trials or approved for that specific use by the FDA.
There have been more than 13,000 adverse reactions reported to the FDA in connection with Risperdal, and the agency estimates that less than one percent of all serious events are ever reported. This indicates that the actual number of side effects occurring is likely much higher. A black box warning, the strictest warning put on prescription drug labels by the FDA, has been placed on the drug.
More than 18,000 people nationwide have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the company knew of the gynecomastia risks associated with adolescent Risperdal use without warning consumers. After risks became known, Johnson & Johnson did not strengthen labels with gynecomastia warnings, and lawsuits claim that J&J manipulated data and withheld key evidence from the FDA.
Risperdal can increase levels of the hormone prolactin. Increased prolactin levels can lead to side effects in females such as loss of periods, increased or irregular production of breast milk, and excessive acne and body hair. Males might experience symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, decreases in body and facial hair, and in some cases gynecomastia — the development of female breast tissue.
In November 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that Risperdal use was linked to the increased production of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates breast development and milk production in women.
In women, excess prolactin levels can cause spontaneous milk production, but in men, excess levels can lead to gynecomastia, the abnormal growth of male breast tissue.
Studies conducted by a psychiatrist at Duke University found strong links between Risperdal use in childhood and adolescence with the development of gynecomastia. The study concluded that the drug can increase levels of prolactin, leading to hormonal imbalances and gynecomastia. A study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology found that young Risperdal users have a risk for gynecomastia up to five times higher, noting the explicit psychological burden associated with the disorder.
According to a study conducted by Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, gynecomastia has a negative impact on adolescent males both not only physically, but also emotionally. Specifically, the condition was found to affect “social functioning, mental health, and self-esteem.”
TorHoerman Law is currently accepting cases for young males injured by Risperdal. If you took Risperdal as a minor and have a documented diagnosis of gynecomastia, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
As a result of the link to developing breasts after taking Risperdal, lawsuits were filed on behalf of the children and adolescents who suffered from the abnormal growth of male breast tissue and the increased production of prolactin.
The first Risperdal lawsuit ended in a $2.5 million loss for Johnson & Johnson. The jury found the drug maker negligent for failing to warn consumers about the risks of gynecomastia. The second lawsuit was a partial victory for plaintiffs, as the jury found that J&J was negligent for failing to warn the public about the risk of gynecomastia, but the jury found that Risperdal was likely not the cause of this plaintiff’s gynecomastia.
On May 27, 2015, lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of a California boy who developed gynecomastia after taking the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. Johnson and Johnson settled the case just hours into opening arguments.
In the first three months of 2017, more than 3,000 additional Risperdal lawsuits were filed in Philadelphia Common Court of Pleas. The total number of cases filed in Philadelphia courts totals to more than 5,500, which are currently pending.
If you took Risperdal as a minor and have a documented diagnosis of gynecomastia, or developed physical or mental adverse symptoms from increased prolactin, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
If you have any questions about a Risperdal lawsuit, please contact the personal injury lawyers at TorHoerman Law today. Before filing a Risperdal lawsuit, familiarize yourself with the steps of the civil litigation process.
The first step in a Risperdal lawsuit is choosing a personal injury attorney who has experience handling Risperdal litigation. Your Risperdal lawyer will help you to identify who holds liability for your injuries. You will need to begin gathering evidence as soon as possible to support your claim against the liable party. This evidence will help to prove the total cost of losses that you endured as a result of your injury, also known as your damages. In many personal injury lawsuits, the injured party will choose to file for both compensatory damages and punitive damages. After assessing all damages that you incurred, your Risperdal attorney will file a complaint demanding compensation to repay your damages.
October 31, 2018 - A $2.5 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson was upheld by the Pennsylvania Superior Court over allegations Risperdal caused a boy to grow breasts. The case was returned to a lower court to determine whether the family was entitled to punitive damages as well.
January 2018 - A Pennsylvania appeals court threw out an order that prevented Johnson & Johnson from facing punitive damages.
October 2017 – A jury awarded $1 million to a young man who began taking Risperdal at age 9 to treat mood disorders. He developed breasts and began lactating at the age of 10 as a result of the drug.
February 2017 - Again, Judge New granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of Janssen.
January 2017 – An undiagnosed settlement was reached by Johnson & Johnson and the plaintiff, subsequently avoiding trial.
December 2016 – The seventh Risperdal trial was dismissed 11 days into the trial due to the judge's decision that the plaintiff expert witness did not provide sufficient testimony.
October 2016 – Judge Arnold L. New granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
July 2016 – $70 million in damages was awarded to a young man who developed gynecomastia at the age of five due to Risperdal. The jury found that Janssen Pharmaceuticals "intentionally falsified, destroyed, or concealed records."
December 2015 – The fourth Risperdal case found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding $500,000 in damages.
November 2015 - More than 1,500 cases that alleged Johnson & Johnson did not warn of the risks associated with Risperdal were consolidated in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
November 2015 - $1.75 million was awarded to a young man who developed Gynecomastia after taking Risperdal for schizophrenia.
March 2015 – A Philadelphia jury found in favor of Janssen Pharmaceuticals stating that the man's condition was not caused by Risperdal. However, the jury did find that Janssen provided inadequate safety warnings.
February 2015 – South Carolina's Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision finding Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, improperly marketed Risperdal and hid the risks. The company was ordered to pay a penalty of $136 million.
April 2015 - A young man was awarded $2.5 million in damages after developing size 44D breasts from taking Risperdal.
2012 - Johnson & Johnson settled a Justice Department investigation into whether the company unethically marketed and promoted Risperdal to consumers by agreeing to pay a $2.2 billion fine, the largest at the time.
2006 - A study is released by a Duke psychiatrist that suggests a strong correlation between Risperdal and Gynecomastia.
2006 - The FDA approves Risperdal to treat children, specifically those with autism.
2005 – The FDA issued a black box warning for Risperdal stating "elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis who are treated with these drugs face an increased risk of death."
1995 - Johnson & Johnson co-founded the Texas Medical Algorithm Project (TMAP). The organization's intent was to persuade doctors to prescribe the medication to off-label patients such as children and the elderly.
1994 - Risperdal is approved to treat schizophrenia in adults.
Fair, Matt. "Pa. Appeals Court Upholds Risperdal Time Bar." Law360 - The Newswire for Business Lawyers, 13 Nov. 2017, www.law360.com/articles/984654/pa-appeals-court-upholds-risperdal-time-bar.
Legal Newsline. "Philadelphia Flooded With New Risperdal Lawsuits; Trials Split But Include Massive Verdict." Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Apr. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/legalnewsline/2017/04/10/philadelphia-flooded-with-new-risperdal-lawsuits-trials-split-but-include-massive-verdict/#2236a5db6318.
O'Shea, Timothy. "10 Black Box Warnings Every Pharmacist Should Know." Pharmacy Times, Pharmacy & Healthcare Communications, LLC, 14 Mar. 2016, www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/timothy-o-shea/2016/03/10-black-box-warnings-every-pharmacist-should-know?p=5.
Nuzzi, Laura C. B.A.; Cerrato, Felecia E. M.P.H.; Erikson, Cameron R. B.S.; Webb, Michelle L. B.A.; Rosen, Heather M.D., M.P.H.; Walsh, Erika M. M.D.; DiVasta, Amy D. M.D., M.M.Sc.; Greene, Arin K. M.D., M.M.Sc.; Labow, Brian I. M.D. "Psychosocial Impact of Adolescent Gynecomastia: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery." Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Abstract/2013/04000/Psychosocial_Impact_of_Adolescent_Gynecomastia___A.44.aspx.
Reuters Staff. "South Carolina Court Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $136 Million..." Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 26 Feb. 2015, www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-risperdal-lawsuit/south-carolina-court-orders-johnson-johnson-to-pay-136-million-in-risperdal-case-idUSKBN0LU0YM20150226.
"Risperdal Lawsuits." ConsumerSafety.org, www.consumersafety.org/legal/risperdal-lawsuit/.
"Risperdal Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing." WebMD, www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9846/risperdal-oral/details.
Last Modified: October 14th, 2019 @ 06:27 pm
Risperdal is an anti-psychotic drug that can cause users to develop breast tissue, a condition known as gynecomastia. Risperdal lawsuits across the country have been filed against the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, for knowledge of the risks, but failing to adequately warn consumers.
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