A young man who developed female-sized breasts after taking the antipsychotic drug Risperdal was awarded $70 million in damages last week by a jury in Philadelphia.
The monster verdict is the largest by far in Risperdal lawsuits to date, and marks the fifth time a jury found drug maker Johnson & Johnson failed to properly warn the public about the risks that the drug can cause gynecomastia, or unnatural breast growth.
Johnson & Johnson faces more than 1,500 other lawsuits from families claiming similar side effects, most of which have been filed in Philadelphia courts.
Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 1994 to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism in adults and adolescents. After doctors began prescribing it to younger children for minor conditions like ADHD, however, allegations arose that J&J was illegally marketing it for unapproved purposes to boost profits.
In 2013, J&J pled guilty to federal charges that they illegally marketed Risperdal along with 2 other drugs, including pushing doctors to use it in children for unapproved uses. They agreed to pay $2.2 billion in fines, one of the largest pharmaceutical penalties in history.
The company has also been fined several hundred million dollars for false marketing charges in numerous states.
The latest verdict follows a $2.5 million award to a young man from Alabama in February 2015 after he developed size 46 DD breasts from taking Risperdal; as well as a $1.75 million award to a Tennessee young man who claims he developed breasts after being prescribed Risperdal at age 5 with no warning.
Scientists have pointed out that Risperdal can increase levels of the hormone prolactin, which can cause gynecomastia. Johnson & Johnson allegedly knew of this risk for years, but kept it hidden while continuing to push the drug for use in minors, particularly in lower-class areas.
Lawyers believe Johnson & Johnson may be close to agreeing to a settlement for all victims who have filed Risperdal breast growth lawsuits, but warn that time is limited for new claims to be filed.
For more information or to speak directly with a lawyer about your claim, contact DrugNews today.
A.Y. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, et al., Case No. 1304-02094, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas (Philadelphia).
Feeley, Jef. J&J Hit With $70 Million Risperdal Verdict Over Male Breasts. Bloomberg News. (July 1, 2016). Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-01/j-j-faces-record-70-million-verdict-over-male-breasts
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