On February 24, 2015, a Philadelphia jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $2.5 million in the first of about 1,250 pending Risperdal cases to go to trial in Philadelphia. The month-long trial was followed by about one and a half days of jury deliberations before 11 of the 12 jurors agreed upon the verdict.
Risperdal is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Janssen”), a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and symptoms of bipolar disorder as well as symptoms of irritability in autistic children. Johnson & Johnson paid $2.2 billion two years ago to settle civil and criminal allegations of illegally marketing Risperdal for use in children and the elderly.
The 20-year-old plaintiff claimed that he developed gynecomastia (the swelling of breast tissue in boys or men that is caused by an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone) as a result of his taking Risperdal when he was 8 years old for treatment of his behavioral problems related to autism (the plaintiff began taking Risperdal in 2002 but stopped taking Risperdal in 2006 after the FDA issued an updated warning label regarding the risk of gynecomastia). The plaintiff developed size 46 DD breasts as a result. The plaintiff alleged that Janssen knew that Risperdal was associated with an increased risk of gynecomastia but failed to properly disclose such information. The plaintiff’s condition is permanent unless he undergoes a mastectomy.
The plaintiff provided exert testimony during trial from a former FDA commissioner that Johnson & Johnson knew about the increased risk of developing gynecomastia associated with the use of Risperdal but failed to disclose the data to the FDA.
The Philadelphia jury determined that Janssen failed to provide adequate warning regarding the increased risk of gynecomastia associated with taking Ripserdal. The plaintiff’s lawyers alleged that Janssen failed to provide the FDA with information regarding Risperdal’s ability to elevate levels of prolactin (prolactin is a hormone that causes gynecomastia).
Janssen issued a statement following the verdict in which a spokeswoman stated that Janssen is “disappointed and will consider all of our options going forward, including appeals. We firmly believe this verdict should be overturned. During the trial, Janssen presented abundant evidence showing that the FDA-approved label properly warned of the medication’s potential side effects and the plaintiff’s physician was aware of those side effects. The evidence also showed that [the plaintiff] was not harmed by using Risperdal and, in fact, his quality of life was significantly improved during the time he was taking Risperdal.”
If you or a loved one were injured after taking Risperdal or another drug in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer (drug claim lawyer) in your state who may investigate your drug claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a claim against a pharmaceutical company, if appropriate.
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