The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson lost the first jury trial on Tuesday regarding the popular antipsychotic medication Risperdal®. A Philadelphia jury awarded an autistic 20-year-old man $2.5 million after his attorneys proved that the company had failed to warn his doctors that the drug could cause gynecomastia, or the development of female breasts in men.
Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn patients that gynecomastia could be a side effect of the drug. After taking Risperdal, the plaintiff developed size 46 DD breasts as a teenaged boy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Risperdal for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults in 1993. However, it was not approved for use in children until 2006, more than 13 years later.
According to the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical representatives had been urging doctors—including the plaintiff’s doctors—to use Risperdal on young people, even though it had not been tested on children or adolescents. The plaintiff was prescribed Risperdal when he was 8 years old in 2002.
The jury returned the $2.5 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson after finding that the company had failed to warn patients and their doctors that gynecomastia was a potential side effect. This was the first time a Risperdal case had gone to trial, making this a significant loss for the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The Department of Justice previously fined Johnson & Johnson $2.2 billion in criminal and civil penalties after the company was found to have illegally marketed Risperdal for untested purposes, like the treatment of autism in children. However, this fine was paid to the government as a punishment, and did not provide compensation to individual patients who suffered from serious harmful side effects.
Individual patients who were harmed by Risperdal can file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, but there has not yet been a settlement fund created. Many attorneys are hoping that the loss in court will persuade the pharmaceutical company to create such a fund, allowing injured plaintiffs to seek less complicated forms of compensation for their injuries.
If you or your family member developed gynecomastia after taking Risperdal, the attorneys at Riddle & Brantley want to discuss your legal options, and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call 800-525-7111 or use our case evaluation form to schedule your free consultation today.